How helpful is the past?


I moved house recently and, as part of the move, I brought the diaries/journals I have been writing for 20 years. They’re currently taking up a fair bit of space in a drawer in the spare room, and I started to wonder why I was hanging on to them.

They’re mostly about feelings and life events and boys. A part of me seems to think it’s important to hang on to them, like they’re a part of me. I’ve looked back over some entries over the years too, so I’ve worried that I didn’t want to lose the ability to do that.

But now I’ve had a change of heart.

A lot of it is pretty depressing, mostly because those were the times I chose to write. And why do I want to go over that stuff again? In some cases it’s stuff I’ve almost completely forgotten about, so it’s not just going over it again, but bringing it back to me.

There’s also a lot of cringeworthy stuff in there, and why do I want to be reminded of embarassing stuff? I have a tendency to remember really inane information and trivial events, especially if it embarassed me or made me self-conscious, and will be affected by it for years. I often wonder if I’m the only person with this affliction, but then I remember this meme and figure probably not.

Most of the boys – who where hugely important at the time – are now just blips on the horizon. In fact, I don’t even remember some of them! My mind is still good enough to remember the ones who actually turned out to be important, so do I need the feelings surrounding each date, kiss, etc., or is a general feeling about the person/relationship enough?

But my point is,

Is hanging on to my diaries helpful?

I’m beginning to think I’d be better off without them. But maybe I should go through them one last time and pick out anything really important, just in case.

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