I started keeping a diary at age 10. I got my first one as a Christmas present- it was a One Year Diary- with a fancy maroon cover and gold writing. It came with a tiny little lock and key.
I loved it and wrote in it faithfully almost every day. When I finished that diary the following December, there was a shiny new one wrapped under the tree.
Once I outgrew the little lock and key variety, i just started journaling in notebooks. Over the years I filled up tons of them.
Lately I feel compelled to get rid of junk and clutter that’s just laying. I found myself going thorough the back of my closet and skimming through years and years of dusty old journals. I truly don’t want to hold onto my sad story any longer. I made it a point to scan through every notebook before I put it in the trash pile. But interestingly, I am finding very little that I think is worth keeping…
Not that my life was bad. I had a normal life. Then I developed anxiety. What sucked was my perceptive and attitude about life once I became anxious. It was as if I was living in a nightmare.
I basically spent decades of my life writing about my sad sad story- how bad my anxiety was, then how bad my marriage was, how lonely I was, how hard my life was. How I should have done this, how I deserved better. Etc, ad nauseum. But mostly my journals were about my horrible anxiety nightmare.
Whenever I would read an old journal I didn’t feel good. They made me feel gloomy and heavy inside. I used the journals to vent a lot of my frustrations. While it’s important to vent negativity rather than holding it inside, keeping those negative journals was a physical way to hold on to my past life.
When I started this blog I made a promise to myself that if I was blogging about a problem, I needed to find a solution. Otherwise what’s the point? I don’t wish to wallow in negativity any longer. and I no longer feel like a victim, being robbed of all the fruits of life because of stupid anxiety.
So it feels very good to be getting rid of all this excess stuff. It makes me feel lighter and less burdened by a troubled past.
This exercise in decluttering my journal baggage is a symbolic way for me to let go of my past. Which leaves me more clear and prepared to live more fully in the present.
Here is an interesting article I found on the subject of getting rid of what the author calls “negative keepsakes”:
Says the author: I like journals, but I’m a selective recorder. Some things are better left in the past. At the end of my time here, I want my cherished keepsakes to fill a box, not a storage unit.
And here’s an interesting article I found on The Emotional Toll of Clutter. Takeaway from the article: You might have a tendency to blame the past for your current situation, or to think your best days are behind you. Try letting go of any object — however lovely or sentimental — if looking at it disturbs you or brings you down.
Farewell old journals. I’m grateful to be living free of the nightmare of my past.
And you, what do you do with your old stuff? Do you tend to hold onto your old letters, keepsakes and diaries?
I wish you peace,