Last week, I explained that I have been a "journal-er" for a very, very long time.
When I was a young girl, I loved the notion of keeping a "secret diary." I was totally enchanted when I got my first diary -- the kind with a locking tab and a tiny key -- for one of my birthdays (probably when I was 9 or 10). I remember it was gold, and it was embossed with some flourishes and the words "My Diary." The key was tiny and silver-colored, and I kept it in my jewelry box.
I loved writing in my little diary. I remember tracking "important" things -- like what I ate for dinner, what I was going to buy with my allowance, why I hated Certain People at school, and how I wanted a dog.
It seemed pretty magical at the time. I don't know what ever happened to that particular diary. I know I kept writing in it - off and on - for several years.
A few years ago, I was going through some old boxes of junk at my parents' house, and I stumbled on to this . . .
It's my journal from 1975! I was 15 when I started writing in this journal; a sophomore in high school. I gotta tell you. . . it is humbling - and slightly nauseating - to read what you wrote when you were 15. Mortifying. . . yet compelling. I mean, there I was -- raw and uncensored -- on the pages of 1975.
What did I write? Well. Most of it, you just don't want to know. . . but, I suppose . . . just what you'd expect to find in a 15-year-old's diary. Lots of He Said-She-Said (to the point of actually documenting dialog). Hopes. Dreams. Heart-wrenching life. WAY too much about boys and cheerleading and swim meet results. (Really. WAY too much on the boys.) Excruciating details about who-I-saw-where-and-what-they-said-and-what-that-probably-meant. Real-life drama about learning-to-drive and daily updates about my summer job at the Dairy Queen.
Here, on Friday, June 6 (the last day of school), if you squint really hard (because I'm just too mortified to actually show the whole page. . .) you can see that I was having a "red-letter"-day --- because (a) I got my driver's license; (b) I got a job (DQ); and (c) "Kevin saw me drive." Now, I don't remember the "Kevin" I was referring to ---- but it was, apparently, a Big Deal (a really Big Deal) that he saw me drive.
You might also see. . . if you work hard at it . . . that the rest of the entry is a list of the resolutions and goals I had for myself that summer. Yeah. I know. #1 is "get a great tan" (and I did!). I was 15. And vain. And most of the other goals are equally . . . trite. But. I also had goals about reading and sewing and working hard at my swimming and keeping up with my French.
Sort of . . . like me. . . now. (With the goals in general; not the back handsprings in particular.)
The other book in the photo above -- the one with the maroon cover -- is another type of journal I started when I was a senior in high school and continued through college. It's not so much a journal. . . as a collection. Of quotes and "sayings" and poems, song lyrics and doodles.
I remember loving this "blank book" -- the first I had ever seen back in 1977. No lines! You could just . . . draw or write anything you wanted. Free form! I loved it!
It is full of . . . all kinds of silly things. And even though it's not a "journal" detailing the day-to-day of my life, I can look back on what I wrote and what I drew and remember who I was and what I was thinking.
The most amazing things about looking at my journal from 1975 (once I get past the mortification) and my "quote collection" from my college years . . . is . . . how much like ME now. . . I was then. How I used my journals - then - to work out frustrations; to test out new ideas; to think through goals and hopes and dreams; to record poems and quotes and ideas. Just like I do now.
Some things change (thank god). And some things . . . just don't!