Old Journals

One of my current projects is to de-clutter my apartment.  It sounds simple enough, until you factor in the fact that I have boxes and boxes of old clothing, books, and everything else imaginable still unpacked from my last several moves.  These boxes had been in storage until recently, but now it’s all here–filling up the second bedroom from wall to wall!

I’ve always been sentimental, so it’s hard for me to throw away anything that reminds me of good times.  I have half a dozen shoeboxes full of old letters and notes from friends and family, photos, travel brochures, programs and ticket stubs.  And then there are the journals…

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A sampling of old journals

 

I grew up in a family where there was a lot of tension under the surface, so the safest way I could express myself was through the pages of my journals.  These journals chronicled the ups and downs of my life for over a decade–my secret hopes and dreams, my relentless self-criticism, feelings of frustration, confusion, and loneliness– in scribbled entries,  poems, and stories.

I never thought I would want to get rid of these records.  They contained so much of who I was and what I’ve worked so hard to overcome.  But  flipping through page after page of my scrawled writing, I saw the same dark themes emerging over and over again.  I had felt stuck, confused, worthless… I had struggled with these demons over and over again… and still do, occasionally.  What would be the point of holding on to this negativity?

So I’m letting go.  I don’t need to define myself by what I’ve been through or how I’ve struggled.  There is so much more to life, and I need to clear out the past to open myself up to what will come next… in a very literal sense!  (There is no physical space for these boxes of journals, and I need to make way for the office that room is supposed to become!)

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Ready to be recycled!

So, here’s to letting to of the past… and hopefully, to the more positive things to come!

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9 thoughts on “Old Journals

  1. Cheers to positivity in the future! I don’t think I’d have the heart to get rid of a journal. It becomes part of you, who you were, what you struggled with, and most important, shows your growth and progression passed all the dark times in life. It documents your deepest self, something for you to look back on and say “I overcame that. I found the strength and was able to push through that.” If you have children, either now or in the future, it could be something to help them. A sort of common ground if you will.
    I applaude your strength and willingness to give up past negativity and hope your journals will do good to you through a window to the past or to someone else as recycled materials. Either way, a fine sendoff to negativity and a reign in for positivity to come. May your path be lit or may you find the source of light in yourself. Happy reading, writing, and recycling!
    -Author S

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    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment! You perfectly capture the reasons I kept my journals for so many years. However, when I was confronted with the reality of how much space they took up, I had to weigh the pros and cons of holding on to them. I certainly went through and kept some pages that I thought captured important moments, and I might collect them in a mini-journal… but there were also a lot of self-indulgent rants in those pages that I’m more than happy to purge!

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      1. I understand your reasons, as they do take a surprising amount of space. Maybe to get the best of both worlds you could digitize the pages you keep by taking pictures of them or typing them up. Saving them that way, perhaps in the cloud will keep more journal pages without having to overwhelm yourself. Keeping pages reserves the character of a written journal, all the life and memories in the pages, as well as the graphite or ink be it smudges or colors. I’m glad you decided to keep some pages as important reminders while keeping in mind the renewal that comes from purging past negativity. I look forward to hearing from you again. Cheers to positivity! -Author S

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  2. just like you am so attached to things with an emotional significance that i still have tiny letters from my first year of high school i didn’t and still find it difficult to let go of things, at some point i got around to knowing i should, because life is like that and some of those things are there for years without making much of a difference in my life, as for clothes, i would advise you to give them to charity, some people could use it, some of the hardest things for me to get rid of are my clothes but some stay in the closet for years without me touching them while, they are people out there dying of cold! so i came around to it and give them away regularly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment–I’m right with you with the old letters… I still have boxes of notes that I need to go through, and that will be much harder than the journals! I also agree about donating clothes! I made a trip to Good Will a few days ago! 🙂

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