Beyond Babedom

We're (way) over 40. Deal with it.

Dear Diary

Maybe you haven’t had a diary since you were 12 (and, as a woman over 40 that was a long, long time ago). But, chances are that even if you’re a guy, you might have kept a journal or  “philosophical notebook” . Which is a fancy way of saying . . . diary. If you’re anything like me – an obsessive pack rat – you may even still have some of those “notebooks” lying around the house. And, I’ve got to tell you, they can be some interesting reading.

Why is writing in a diary considered something only pubescent and prepubescent girls do? Don’t we all have “issues” that we just don’t want to discuss with our spouses (since they often involve them) or our best friends (because we don’t want them to know about the issues we’re having with our spouses)? I’m focusing on “issues” because most of us don’t have the motivation to write about our day unless it was lousy. Of course, reading my old entries (and some of them go back to junior high),  my reactions range from laughing out loud to crying. . . and a whole lot of uncomfortable cringing in between. I don’t know how it is for everyone else, but when I read about that first 7th grade dance when not one guy asked me to dance, I can remember exactly how terrible I felt that night.

Of course, when I read about the day to day progression of a romantic relationship from 1978. . .ah, how wonderful! My memories are pretty clear, but there is nothing like a blow by blow description of our first night together to bring a smile to my face.

And then, two weeks later, my disenchantment with the fella.

One of the best things to glean from a diary or journal is how much you’ve learned since then. Ah, if I had just asked  him if he had a girlfriend! If I had just told him to get lost when he finally told me, 6 months later, that he did. And if I had only gone for it – took the plunge – instead of worrying about what he’d think. Most of my issues were “boy” related; some of them were about girlfriends. If I go back far enough, to the notes Lynn (my closest, inseparable friend) and I passed in high school (yeah; I still have some of them), I have to struggle to remember what the code words meant: who was “Evad”? (Dave Young) What was “PL” and who gave it to me? (Purple lips; Dennis Pavone)

Of course, the downside is that you realize that maybe your memories are a little different than reality. Like, it was actually  you  who was the dumpee vs. being the dumper.

I even uncovered the most beautifully written love letter from someone I’m sure fulfilled his dream to be a writer. And, though it tugs at my heartstrings, neither this letter nor the other missed opportunities make me sad. Where I was put me where I am and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2012 at 1:25 PM and is filed under Relationships. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Marlene says:

    It is really a trip back in time to discover something tucked or hidden away and to relive the moment. This is why it is so hard to throw away, give away, downsize, move…you just don’t know what to keep or save. The insights gleaned from the small discoveries of a written note, journal or card bring the startling realization that we have grown so much and hopefully will continue to do so.

  2. Pat Wright says:

    I still keep journals…or as I do them – letters. I write letters to ppl telling them why I am angry with them and it really helps me feel better. Of course I never mail the letters but it helps to look back on them from time to time to see what my problem was with them and remember how I dealt with the problem. My EX has the longest letter…a continuing one that has been going on since our divorce 10 years ago.
    When my daughter (who lived in California at the time) became pregnant with my first grandchild I started keeping a journal with all the milestones and added pictures and on the day he was born I presented it to his mom and dad. I still look back on that journal and absolutely love it!! As do they.
    Keeping journals (or diaries as they were called when we were younger) are a great way to let out all the angst you have inside and years down the road give you a reason to look at yourself and say “What kind of idiot was I back then?”

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