Friday, September 13, 2013

Goodbye Journals

We're having some remodeling done.
Lots of discarding and housecleaning is happening. 
My journals covering 20+ years are (were) stored in boxes.
At certain points in my life, I wrote 2 pages a day in black ink on lined notebook paper.
Lots of the pages were written during my 30's, 40's, and beginning 50's. 
I've been fluctuating about what to do with those stacks of notebooks. 
I spent a bit of time over the past year randomly reading through them.

A few days ago, I spent hours destroying them.

Thoughts of my grandchildren finding them after I'm dead helped me decide. 
At first, I fed the handwritten pages slowly into the shredder to determine if I would vacillate.
Hours later, the shredder was jammed and over-heated.
That's when the frenzy started!
I began hand-tearing and scissoring as fast as I could.
Finally - the job was finished! 
I felt nothing but relief. 

The next morning, when my son called, I mentioned an incident from his childhood
 that I'd read during shredding.
His voice got a smile in it - he remembered the scene well - a happy memory.
So, I realized that though the journals are gone,
for those who matter, the memories remain.

Life goes on.
No regrets.
(That's One Good Thing) 


  1. i have some from my junior high to young 20s - i will burn them soon. i read parts that were good to remember. there are years i never want to relive. :)

  2. Life goes on, no regrets, that is indeed one good thing.
    And how nice that your son remembered that happy memory from his childhood :)

    It's pouring here now, poor Colorado has been hit hard with the rains.
    Boulder is tragic :(
    Hope you are staying dry in Breck.

  3. Hello,Barb,
    You can remember next day yourself from your journals. What you thought about, what you cherished, what you shed tears on, and what made you laugh at that time. But they are not the present yourself. Life goes on. I live life only once, and I want to love it. Yes, your memories remain.

    OCN server told the customers that many mail numbers and passwords were hacked. My mail number and password had also been hacked.I had to change my pass word. Now it is safe. I hope nothing was happen.

  4. Knowing what to let go of and when to let it go is not always easy. I admire that you knew the what and the when and did it. I've been struggling with such things myself lately and reading this post gives me some clarity and a bit of courage too. thanks Barb. it's a good thing. happy weekend to you.

  5. Now you can enjoy today and let the memories pop up whenever they wish.

  6. 'Cleaning house' can feel so good once some space is created. I bet you are feeling lighter Barb.

  7. I'm glad you wrote this.
    I have journals that are locked away. I would not want my children to read them until they are adults because I tended to use the journals for heartache and complaining and confusion, which was very helpful then. Over the recent years, I've wondered about the future of the journals. I've fantasized about them making a good book, but by today's standards, there is not enough drama in them. :)
    Lately, I've also thought as Red Rose (above) says; that my present is my life - not my past. My past is only memories. These thoughts occur to me as I continue to declutter. Too many things from the past, taking up physical space and brain space, takes away from my present. I've even noticed that when I take too many pictures of my kids at their performances or events, that I'm not fully experiencing the moments.
    Sooo... my journals... hmmmm... time will tell. I'm glad you feel comfortable in destroying yours.

  8. I am ready to do the same and have been pondering it a lot lately. I won't have to shred because we have an incinerator and it will be easy to simply throw them in. Keeping a journal since I was ten years old has definitely created a use of space that could go for better things.

    Recently a cousin of my mother's published her memoirs and shared way too much. It was painful for the entire family to read and that was when I knew my stories should remain just stories never to be shared.

    Thank you for the inspiration. I'm getting started today.

  9. Hi Barb,
    At first I thought, "Oh! How can she destroy those years of her life!" Then I thought, "How freeing!"

    I, too, have years worth of handwritten journals. My oldest daughter has already read most of the ones I wrote during her growing up years. She sat on the sewing room floor and read, sometimes aloud, while I was sewing her a birthday dress when she was 21. There were a few moments that I had a twinge of regret about, but she really loved that I wrote while she was young.

    I tend to still buy beautiful journals, but I rarely fill them anymore. If I write, I write on the computer. Some of those writings I wouldn't want anyone to read. After reading this post, it makes me think that maybe I should delete them!

    Good for you for clearing out the clutter!

  10. I have destroyed a journal I wrote at a difficult time in my life, - but the day to day ones? I'm not ready yet. Nor for the letters Charles and I wrote each other during the war, - there are things in those I would want my children and grandchildren to read - part of history, - different times.....

    I am so sorry, Barb, for the dreadful flooding in Colorado. As in southern Alberta it will take many months (or years) to recover, and the losses are so heart breaking.

  11. Wow -- that had to take some real soul searching...

  12. Oh good, it was nice to read some more thoughts about the journal-shredding. The fact that you felt so good after shredding means that it was the right decision for you. Way to go, Barb!

  13. I have ceremoniously burned some of them

  14. I can imagine you ripping and tearing.... I know the feeling of thinking and thinking about whether or not.... and then, when you finally make up your mind it's the right thing, all you want to do is get the job over with.

    And yes, that's the thing...the good memories remain!

  15. That is such a heart warming incident that your share with us Barb. The last lines are so very true, the memories will always remain fresh for those who were involved in the incidents! It must have been painful to destroy those journals which must have taken so much time to write? But I trust you to have taken the correct decision. I loved that first picture, gives that old world feeling! Have a lovely week ahead Barb :)

  16. I have to say that this post would be a wonderful journal entry. Just the thought of you smoking that shredder makes me grin.

  17. wonderful photographs

    fun to hear about your journals
    i need to do the same
    there are things in them that another generation would like to read, but maybe not.... we take nothing with us when we leave our bodies.... i think i shall try to have less possessions each remaining year.... thank you for sharing that.

  18. I never kept a journal of my own life.. but I do have a collection of events that I've written about concerning my kids. I get exactly where you're coming from though. I would be shredding also.. with them and the grand kids (to be) in mind. I might have to go delete some old email now... ;)

  19. My goodness... that took courage. I'm glad that you realized that the important memories are in your family's minds.

  20. I want to go through all mine once more before I decide. I think of transcribing them to the computer - a HUGE task - then I wonder if they are of any interest now....

    And then there are all Andrew's journals and notebooks!

  21. I have also some journals from my 20's ... I need to find them too and decide what to do ... Reading your post I could almost feel the relief you were feeling after the process!

  22. Mmmm. I wish I'd kept some records. Others not...:)

  23. When I moved I got rid of some things like that. There are things for public consumption and others for personal rumination. The writing serves (or served) a purpose. And then the purpose is no longer there.

  24. I so agree with you. I throw out every journal I write in, as soon as I fill it up.

  25. Wow. I love this post! I have been writing since I was a child. I have a campfire for some of those pages that should not be read by others. It's sort of a ritual to send those thoughts out into the universe, especially the negative ones where they can be transformed into something positive out there in the cosmic atmosphere. When I saw your photo above of you walking through a peaceful setting, I thought a burial of them under the beautiful earth would be a more deserving departure than the shredder. For in time, they would become part of the earth, from which that very paper evolved. Keep on writing. It's good for the soul! Aloha.

  26. I have quite a few journals.. They are in storage. But now I am thinking I should do the same. I enjoyed my visit here today.



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