If you have held on to your journals, notebooks, diaries, etc., why have you kept them? In what ways have they served you, or how do they continue to serve you?
Mandy van Goeije: It was never a question whether or not to keep them. I always thought I’d sort them out later. But it’s never ‘later’. They’ve moved house with me ten times, in a growing formation. Now I have moving boxes full of them. Notebooks, journals, diaries…I don’t even know how many ’cause I’m afraid to count. They weigh on me, in all honesty. There’s so much ‘nagging’ in there. Things I’m way past. Not much fun reading that back. But there’s also really beautiful stuff in there that I can’t bear to throw away and that I might want to leave to my kids. I’m thinking of a way how to do that without burdening them with the ‘nagging’. But so far I haven’t really been able to come up with a good idea.
Kim: I keep the recent ones…say, the last year or two… and then, the journals that cover specific formative times/experiences in my life.
anonymous : I’ve kept them because they are a better record of my life than my memories. I’ve read certain parts when things come up again. It’s typically disappointing that I didn’t write enough detail to satisfy future me. Occasionally I’ve read something that reminded me “oh, that’s why that was a bad idea.”
Susan: I have a few more recent journals. I always have notebooks around. Maybe too many! I like to always have paper and pen within reach when thoughts and ideas pop into my head. Sometimes they are the fodder for blog posts, projects or classes.
Denise Getchell: I have kept my journals from the last 7 or 8 years because some of the writings are issues or experiences that are in them I m still working on in my present life. And it is good for me to go back and read them to see how much I have grown, let go and worked through the stuff that has influenced my life.
Starflower: I keep all my journals. They document my evolution from being co-dependent, addicted and unaware to a fully functioning, emotionally mature, creative adult. My poetry, dreams, songs, sorrows, joys, memories and intentions are here, sometimes the inspiring writings of others. I like to look back at the intentions I’ve set and notice how these have manifested, as they almost always do, and how long it takes. I may one day mine these journals to write an inspiring story for others.
Lisa: I have held onto certain excerpts from journals that were meaningful. Generally, they were poems or creative writing and not merely “diary” entries. Many were also passed on to others that could also enjoy them.
Marlana Eck: I’ve held onto my journals because I feel that when we get older, we lose parts of ourselves. My journals show me where I came from, what my goals and thoughts have been–even how I think. For instance, I can trace my decision making style back to when I started making “fork in the road” type decisions. I still vacillate in the same way.
Ray of Sunshine: My journals have been many things to me over the years. They have been my dream recorders, my to do lists, my random babbling of event observations, my hearts words and an account of my heart vs mind’s many battles. I love to look back randomly and reflect on snippets of my past selves, priorities, creative processes, recurring patters, etc. I am a very in the moment person so it is helpful to me to find my feet back on the ground thru my written history.
Kerri: Sometimes I think I would like someone to read them after I’m gone as if they will have a better understanding of me. But really, it’s probably because I can’t bear to throw them away. I don’t feel served by them right now; when I revisit them, I fail to see much growth, but rather patterns and behaviors that I keep repeating, such as poor me. I suppose this could be a launching pad for growth, but it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe that’s another reason I hang on because one day I am going to exceed my own expectations and finally I will feel served by keeping a record.
Dani Fisher: They continue to serve me because I see how intuitive I was in the past. I can tell how I was preparing for my future life.
Marie: I have some of my journals from the 80’s. My teenage journals were lost during a move and I still miss them. I keep my journals because I find that they provide a great reference about me life, the reinforce memories and, in a more mundane way, they refresh my memory for things like remembering when I did this or that. I love having these touchstones of my past.
Beth Ann McFadden: I keep them so I can look back at past ideas and art works to create them
Lizzie Jordon: Journaling set me free from the otherwise debilitating emotional effects of the sexual trauma I experienced in my home. As I grew with my journals and my journaling practice, I nurtured the idea that one day I would draw from them for reference to personal growth and for the writing of a book.
Zoe ZenGarden: I have kept all of the notebooks in which I write my Morning Pages (an exercise from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, where I write 3 pages, longhand, as soon as possible after waking). They serve as a reminder to release the petty stuff that clutters up my mind and clouds my vision. If my memory should fade as I age, hopefully they will serve as a testament to a good life, well lived.
Maria Mercedes Trujillo A. from MagaMerlina: My journals are my treasures. In them is my journey as an artist/crafter, part of my life and part of who I am. I love looking at my artistic journey recorded in them, see how much I’ve learned, I also get inspiration there. Journals are my main art expression.
kris10: Kept some for reminders of good times good friendships first loves..chronicles of my life..lessons learned etc. They don’t serve me now..but would hope my kids might read one day and discover things they may or may not have known about me
Danielle Notaro: I have kept them because they document my life. And my poems, some pieces of prose are kept in them too. I want to be able to look back and review my life, see the evolution of it, all the people I love or have loved. And future writings they store.
Deb: Early on they provided affirmation of my current feelings and situation. Later, destroying them provided conviction that I had worked through my situation.
Ann: The journals I’ve kept are from the last 14 years and are the ones from my spiritual journey working with a teacher, taking notes on the teachings, recording my insights, dreams, a-ha moments, wonderings, and quotes. I keep them because someday I hope to compile all the teachings into a book along with my mandala art.
Sunshine: On occasion I review them to remember where/who I was at various times in my life. And compare/contrast with how I have changed, grown, tackled obstacles, reflected on what I believed was important in my life at various times.
Cleveland Wall: I use more recent journals to look up when a particular thing happened, what was the name of the film I read about, etc. And to remind myself of ideas or projects I wanted to pursue. I don’t often refer to my older journals for this purpose. They are still around partly due to inertia, but I do pick one up now and then for a lark, to look in on my prior self and see what was going on in that other time and place.
4ravens: The majority of my journals were written during and after my experience of miscarriage and the stillbirths and neonatal death of our sons. My journals are a record of my experience, they also show how far I have come in my grief journey. I hope to one day write my story so I keep them.
Gloria Domina: I enjoy going back into my memories and they serve me not to repeat the same difficulties over.
Have you kept your journals and notebooks over the years? Please feel free to share your own thoughts in the comment box below.