I almost threw out my journals a few weeks ago. I was in declutter mode, and I wanted the 50 lb trunk of handwritten diaries out of the closet I was trying to clear.
As I usually do when I get near that trunk, I opened it and leafed through a couple of the elegant, bound books, then a green beat up spiral notebook from high school. I closed it, embarrassed by my teenage self. What a disaster.
My dear friend Jessica laughed with me last year after she had found a stash of old lettters I had written her in 9th or 10th grade. I groaned.
“I don’t even want to know,” I said.
She laughed. “They are pretty melodramatic.”
I can only imagine. Those were my Depeche Mode emo days, though it wasn’t called emo then. When I visit my parents this summer, in fact, I’ll be able to bring home some vinyl records I bought during those years of my life: a Depeche Mode, maybe a New Order. I can’t wait to see what’s there.
I put the journals back in the trunk, next to my pile of letters from Jessica — the partners to her stash. I didn’t open them, or read any more from my own pages. When will I ever read this stuff?, I thought. Every time I open one, I am embarrassed for myself. Do I want the kids finding these? No. What a disaster.”
Ultimately, I kept them. Those thoughts may come in handy one day, like when our daugher is the age I was when I wrote them.
A few weeks later, last week in fact, when I was searching for my mission statement, I found the Moleskine from our cross-country drive from Minnesota to Virginia, where I scribbled thoughts on our move, on life, and haiku from the highway. That notebook sat open in the passenger seat the entire 3-day drive.
I sat down and read the Moleskine, smiling at the memories, grateful that I had recorded them. Relieved that I hadn’t thrown the journal out.
That would have been a disaster.
For the month of April, I will publish a 10-minute free write each day. Minimal editing. No story. Just thoughts spilling onto the page. This one is from the Daily Post one-word prompt, Disaster. Trying to get back into the writing habit.
11 thoughts on “Old diaries”
Lovely post! 🙂
I’ve also kept a box full of old letters from school days 😄 do you know, I miss those days of hand written letters x great post and great memories – Depeche Mode and especially Blue Monday – happy days x
I wish that I had kept my old journals of growing up pains and years 😉
Those notebooks are beautiful, I don’t think I could have thrown them out, either 🙂
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That trunk is a treasure trove. The covers are beautiful. Never throw them out.
Unfortunately I did throw my journals ( or diaries, as we called them back in the ‘old days’), how I regret that now! A lot of things that I wrote was absolute rubbish, but it was MY rubbish, part of who I was at that time. Please don’t throw them out without at least reading them first. There’s plenty of other things to decluttering, I’m sure!
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You are so lucky to still have these. My childhood journals were destroyed by distrusting parents in my teen years. Thirteen journals gone. 😦 Hold on to those forever.
It is strange to read and relive the past ! Glad you didn’t throw them away.
your first line caught my attention, because it was something so absolutely relate-able. i now think every writer must have a stash like this, i know i do. I worry about the same things, what if…but i like the point that you brought up, but what if they never got read, what if your daughter may some day need them or her children, what a rare gem to have a mother or grandmother’s journals in our possession. There is so much more than just your thoughts and feelings, to read , there is history and legacy! great job.
“Every time I open one, I am embarrassed for myself. Do I want the kids finding these? No. What a disaster.” Thank you Andrea – that’s exactly what I am telling myself every time I look into one of my old diaries. Somehow, I used to write more when I was miserable. There is so much drama, negative thoughts, unfairness and the like that I don’t want it to be my legacy. So I decided to burn them last year. One was already converted into light grey smoke. Outside, in an open fire, page by page. Just me and the book. And it felt right. The only journals I’ll keep are those about my boy growing up. I m curious to learn how you’ll decide. Have a lovely Sunday night – Carina.
Great post! I just started journaling more more often and trying to stay committed, and I can’t wait to look back at some of my journal entries when I get older. I think it’s a great way to see how we’ve grown in life and seeing the difference from how we are, and where we are now. Great post!
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