Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Times have Changed - Teenagers Haven't!

My sixteen-year-old is always amused that I use a Filofax in this day and age.

He knows I am computer savvy.
He knows I own an iPhone and iPad.
He has seen me use Skype.

"So why write things down in a book when you can have everything in your pocket?" he asks.

So I told him.
When I was your age . . . . . 
(you could see his eyes glaze a bit expecting one of 'those' stories)
 . . . . I continued.

When I was sixteen, there was very little technology.
Not like what we have today.

Teenagers dd not have personal computers

There were no cell phones
no internet connections
no broadband
no swipecards
not even credit cards

we only had
the family telephone,
handwritten or typed letters and
face-to-face interaction.
(that's talking for those of you reading this who were born after 1998)

If something exciting happened to you on the weekend
we very rarely were allowed to phone our friends
The telephone was for important things!
you had to save it up and wait until you arrived at school

there were no selfies or instagram

we had to wait for film to be developed and be delivered to the chemist.

We spent a lot of time outside of school with our families and
we always had time up our sleeves.

It was in these days that I learned the power of the written word.

As a young man, I had so many thoughts running through my head
bursting out when no-one could hear me.

Thoughts too personal
or deep to try to explain to others.

Ideas, like bubbles
emerging and disappearing if not captured down on paper.
Dreams quickly jotted down upon awaking from the night.
Scraps of paper stuffed in pockets from scrawled notes while on the bus.
Even the back of my hand became my own personal post-it note.

The written word was a powerful tool we were told at school
'the pen IS mightier than the sword'

So I began to write.

I wrote
and dreamt
and pined
and anguished
and shouted for joy
or groaned with embarrassment
I made claims to become an astronaut
and made adoring swoons at Farrah, Jaclyn and Kate.

I wrote and shared and journaled my way through
those terrible, glorious, sporadic and adventuresome summers of my teenage years.

But within those days
I had no forum to share myself
compared to the youth of today

You had your friends
But they were always so far away

You had your family
But how could you tell THEM how you felt?

What was there to help me speak?

I had my journal
My family
and me.

I learnt to be my own best friend

My journal was the testament to my growth as a person
I moved from just writing my thoughts to
writing my schedules and appointments

As my high school days moved into the heady days of college
I needed to let words organize me
help me to improve
harness my times
get me through.

I found the gift of a day planner.
My first Filofax
A random present from my sister.
A new companion.

We have journeyed far, this diary and me
sometimes we parted ways from my neglect

Some days were so full I could not squeeze in another word
Many times I simply forgot where it was
And there were days where it never left my side.


my place for writing was my only friend.
One thing is was certain,
it never let me go.

I am a tree
who needs to extend out my branches to the world with words
They are my roots to this life.
My Filofax keeps me grounded.
No electronic gadget can ever do that.

My son would say:
"but technology is so much more RELIABLE and POWERFUL!"

I say:
"Pull the battery out and let's see how reliable it is then"

He sees my point.

I did not seek to win the debate.

I am only pleased that he can see the legacy I can bestow on him
as he himself enters the adult world.

"here's a binder" I say to him
"Go and write something."

He looks at me

He gets it.

As he leaves with paper filled diary and pen in hand
I sit at my desk and see my own Filofax.
I lay my hand just lightly on it's leathery skin.

"Thanks" I say quietly

as if it were a prayer.


  1. Great post... My 26 year old son used to make little jokes about me and my Filofax... the Filofax blog I spend most days contributing to etc.

    About 3 years ago when we were packing up all of our belongings to move to France he was at home sorting through his stuff and I discovered my Filofax diary pages from 1987, the year he was born.

    I passed them to him and said 'Here have a read'

    He sat for over and hour flicking through the pages and discovered a load of things he didn't know about. His own visits to the hospital as a baby. Some things he had no memory of at all, yet I had recorded lots of details about his early life, my life too.

    He passed pack my old Filofax later on, thanked me. And has never made a joke about Filofax or the blog ever since....

  2. Molto bello questo post,mi ha commosso,mio figlio ha 13 anni e ama Filofax e libri :) io sono fortunata ;)

  3. Very nice this post, moved me, my son is 13 years old and loves Filofax and Books :) I'm lucky;)

  4. Very well written! Being morn in the 80s, I've always enjoyed writing in a journal/ organiser. My sister who is born in the 90s has a hard time grasping why I still use a Filofax/planner/organiser. We've all become too depended on the ease of technology, that we lose our appreciation for the simpler things in life. This was heartfelt and truthful. I too have gotten my oldest daughter into journaling, and keeping notebooks to expand her thoughts. Kent, you sound like a great father & mentor. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  5. very nice post! Now i know what to say to people asking me that same question :) thanks

  6. Thank you Kent for another extremely well written, insightful, thought provoking post. I always look forward to reading your blog. My husband doesn't understand why I've recently become a Filofax convert and he describes it as 'just a diary' but, as we all know, it's much more than that!

    (I was born in the 60s and I'm guessing that the majority of 'young people' haven't got a clue who Farrah, Jacyln and Kate are/were. Jacyln Smith/Kerry Garrett was my favourite 'Angel')

    1. I'm 21 and I know who ALL of Charlie's Angels were!

  7. Awesome post...(as usual)... both my Daughters use Filofax.. their own choosing

  8. What a wonderful post. I'm a child of the 70s and you said every reason why I love Filofaxing and journaling. I started young with all my children- they all write thank you cards for presents given and early on we gifted them with journals. It warms my heart to see them enjoy such a lost art. I recently gave my 9 year old daughter her first Filofax ( a pocket Aston in orchid- her favorite color too). Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

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  10. This was so wonderful to read! So eloquent. Thank you for sharing this with us!!!!

  11. I am a first time reader of your blog and I'm hooked! I am too a child of the 70s and I used to spend countless hours on the beach filling up spiral notebook after spiral notebook. When technology became the monster it did of course I jumped on like the rest of the world....but I missed my journals. i always kept a diary of some sort. I tried to keep a digital diary but its just not the same. Enter my Filofax and I'm in journal heaven again!

    Thanks for your wonderful post!

  12. What a wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing. Love your videos also!

  13. Reading this gave me shivers!