Monday, February 21, 2011

Journals: a Private Journey?

I've kept journals on and off my entire my life. The gaps between the pages have widened as my life's become fuller. Lately all I've written are gratitude lists and yearly goals.

Over the years, I wrote with reckless abandon (and reckless punctuation). Never did I consider anyone would read my private thoughts when I was younger.

But having had the gut-wrenching task of burying both parents and cleaning out their possessions, the idea that someone could read my intimate thoughts has stuck with me. Is what I've written going to rock (or wreck) someone's world after I'm gone?

This is from Theodore Roosevelt's journal after the death of his wife:
So much power and sorrow in that one sentence.

So it begs the question: Do you journal knowing full well someone (more than likely, the people you live with) will be reading your words one day?


(source: artofmanliness.com)

25 comments:

salarsenッ said...

Yes, I've actually considered that. You know, I think it makes us more human...journaling. Mostly likely, it's off the cuff, true and real. Show's we're as human as the next guy. That may be a good thing for our kids (or whoever) to read about us, someday.

Stefanie Wass said...

For fifteen years I've kept a Christmas journal...what we ate, how we celebrated, what special gifts I received. Each year, I try to include one photo and one Christmas card. Over time,the memories become even more precious.
I also keep a journal of favorite inspirational quotes. Fun!

Christina Lee said...

Salarsen-what a great thoughts.
Stef, I LOVE that!

Jen Daiker said...

I've never thought about that. Theodore Roosevelt's journal entry was rough. It broke my heart!!!

All my thoughts are in my journal, some good, some bad. Some stories I've thought about, the works. Hmm, kind of special.

Talei said...

I've not considered it, though I did start an unfinished journal a few years ago, mostly personal thoughts. And I found that I kept editing myself, you know just in case someone read it - so I think that kind of defeats the purpose. ;-) Needless to say, I love Theodore Roosevelt's entry - its powerful and poignant.

Meredith said...

I used to journal when I was very young, so I don't think my diaries are going to rock anyone's world. But journals can be such fascinating evidence of people's lives.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I don't journal. At all. Mainly because I would hate for someone to accidentally find it and read something I wouldn't want them to see. I prefer to just keep the thoughts in my head and focus on writing novels instead.

Lindsay said...

I don't journal either. I like the idea of it, but I'm with Stina, i'd hate someone reading it. lol.

Jenna Wallace said...

It is for that reason that I actually burned my journal from my high school years. I was so worried that my children would some day see it and they would be forever corrupted by tales of my bad behaviour, forever embarrased by the mooning over unsuitable boys, or forever disappointed by the terrible writing.

Melissa said...

I used to journal when I was a teen but I haven't in a really long time. Now I mostly channel my thoughts or feelings into my characters and then through their funnels into my writing.

I never really thought about the fact that one day someone's going to read those old journals from when I was like twelve. YikeS! Pretty sure all I talked about was boys....

I'm sorry about your parents

<3

Maddy said...

OmG, Christina! We're on the same wavelength again :) I have a scheduled post for Wednesday about journaling too! I guess great minds think a like! I just purchased a Q&A a day journal and I love it. I think a traditional journal would be too much for me right now with my hectic schedule.

Gina said...

I have thought about that. I talk to my journal like I'm talking to a person anyway, so if anyone finds it they'd probably assume I meant for it to happen. But my old journals are in a bin in the attic, because it's the least likely place for someone to "happen" across them. That would be devastating!

Salina Lyn said...

Great question. I've written in journals off and on over the years too. In the past, I was very careful about what I wrote. Now, I write whatever pops into my head. If it's "I hate my husband today" then that's what I write. If he were to ever read my journal, he would definitely see all my "I hate my husband" days but he would also see all the days when I love and adore him too. That's what's real. Life is about the ups and the downs. It's about the struggles and the triumphs. I want the people to remember me for exactly who I was, not some angelic creature who only spoke pleasantries.

blueviolet said...

I don't journal precisely for the reason you mentioned. I don't want people to read it. I know it's therapeutic, and I'm sure it would be a good thing for me, but I can't.

Lourie said...

I have kept journals off and on...mostly off in my life. And yes, I have considered who would be reading it. And maybe that is why my journal writing is mostly off. haha.

K. M. Walton said...

Some journals I write wanting other people to read - like the journals I kept from pregnancy through 2 years old for each of my boys. Sometimes I even read entries to them.

Some journals I write for me. BUT, I always have that voice floating in the back of my head, "Someone might read this" so I try to be honest and not nasty.

Colene Murphy said...

Wow. That one sentence broke my heart! Awe!...:(

I haven't journaled in SO long. But that is more reason for me not to. I mean so much of what I say, but even more of it is just out of the current emotion. I would hate someone's last memories of me to be reading my journal and I said something horrible.

Carrie said...

I journal and sometimes wonder if someone will find them but I like seeing how I've changed, the events and people I thought were important. Sometimes I pick up a journal from a tough time and I'm proud of myself for how I've grown.

Christina Lee said...

So many great responses here!

Lesa said...

I have kept a journal for most of my adult life, sometimes it was just a date book, sometimes I just write affirmations and most of the time I write them as a love letter to my children when I am gone. I don't sugar coat and I write about things we did together, what my feelings were at the time.And even the bad times. Hopefully they will smile when they read it and maybe shed a happy tear.

Ps. I also kept a very detailed blog about our family's trip to China to adopt our youngest child.

Life with Kaishon said...

My blog is my journal.
That entry is so sad and hopeless.

i cried.

Debra said...

Yes and no. I write so much about my life, that I feel like I do keep some sort of journal. I have my regular blog that I fill with recipes, tutorials that type of thing. I have a family blog that I fill with photos of my daughter to keep my mom happy and then I have a simple Google document that is full of things I would be horrified to have read out loud. I have to write. Writing calms my anger, lightens my sadness and makes me smile. It is who I am. I am not sure you could call any of it a journal but I guess it does tell about a part of me.

Ellie said...

Honestly, no. I think if I started thinking about what other people may think of them, they'll stop serving their purpose.

Great thought-provoking post!

Pamela Gold said...

I journal like nobody is watching, or ever will. It's scary now though, the way you ask if it will wreck someone's world when I'm gone and the answer is yes, yes it will. Does that mean I should stop? No, no it doesn't...

AndreaLeigh said...

i've never been able to journal. I start, and then get bored with it. I have dozen of journals with only a few pages written.

blogging has become my outlet.