Going Home & Finding Freedom from the Past

When I was a young girl I came across a journal of my great-grandmother Sophie, mostly written in the 1920's when she was staying home with her young children. I thought it was amazing. The journal was mostly a log of the day-to-day activities that she did, and much of it was illegible because it was written in both pencil and that perfect age-old cursive that doesn't really exist anymore.

Some time after that I decided that I needed to document everything that was happening in my life, so that I could properly pass it on to the daughter that I would have someday. From the time I was 13 up through my 18th birthday I was a diligent journal writer. I filled books and books with my daily ramblings, all which I kept locked in the top drawer of a filing cabinet that I kept in my closet.

After years of coming home and forgetting the key to that little drawer, when we went back home to Michigan two weeks ago I finally remembered it.

And, wow. There really aren't any other words.

It was really interesting to watch how my writing skills and vocabulary improved over the years, and even the suttle ways that my handwriting changed over time. I signed off each day with my signature, and it is obvious that the signature I have today had evolved over many years.

What was not so interesting was the content. Good grief. After laughing over the ramblings of issues that I thought were so important back then, I was nearly brought to tears by the strife and irony that defines those teenage years. I was going to share this with children? Haha... I could barely stand to read it myself. It was a painful experience.

I was happy that I documented those years so closely. It was a flood of memories that brought me back to a time and a place that was so different from what I'm living in today. A time that was really hard. It was difficult when I was unpopular, and it was difficult when I was popular. But mostly, it was just funny... going through that age when you think you're an adult and that your mind is functioning like an adult, but it's clearly not.

Only one thing could be done. After re-reading the musings of a teenage me, I had to pitch those old journals in the garbage. And you know what? It felt really liberating. I felt like all at once I was well equipped to be the parent of a teenage girl while free from ever having to relive it.

Of course, I still journal these days... mostly about my daily activities with my daughter. :)


  1. I pitched a stack of my old journals not too long ago, and it was wonderfully cathartic. I'm so glad you still journal these days! :)


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