Over the past few months, I have had this nagging urge to read through all of my old diaries. My practical (or is it procrastinating?) side has put it off, reminding myself of all the work to be done as we moved and adjusted to life in Chandler, Minnesota. Life is beginning to feel more comfortable, we’re all settling into more of a routine, so I’ve been contemplating this major “trip down memory lane”. I could find the time to do it, but there’s this little part of my brain that warns, “Maybe you don’t want to go there!” I remember some incidents from my past that seem silly, immature, and downright embarrassing when I think of them now. I don’t know if I want to read about them and see all of the gory details in living color.
What? You want some examples? Well, OK, if you insist. I remember writing about all of the imaginary friends I had when I was in about the 3rd grade. Johnny and Scott from the TV show “Sigmund and the Sea Monster”, DeSoto and Gage from “Emergency”, Will and Holly from “Land of the Lost”, and many more. I can remember actually talking to these friends on the way to school, as well as riding an imaginary horse. Yes, I pretended to gallop, pull the reins, etc. I can only imagine what the neighbors I “rode” past must have thought of the crazy little girl from down the block. 🙂
I remember all of the silly crushes I had on various boys beginning at East Elementary school, then on to Jackson Junior High, Rogers High School, and finally Northwestern College. I don’t know if I want to read again about some of them that I put in writing in my journals. Thankfully, I met Gary during my senior year at Northwestern, so that was the end of silly crushes (and the beginning of silly, mushy love letters to my boyfriend!).
I don’t know if I want to remember how frustrated and angry I was when Erin and Allie were little. I’m about ten years away from that very angry year, and the memories have faded a little. I’m beginning to think, “maybe it wasn’t so bad” and I’m afraid I’ll relive the emotions I felt back then when I wrote about it often in my diary.
This is just a small sampling of things I’ve written about. Do I really want to go back and see what I was thinking at all of those times in my life? The mind is a funny thing. How we think so often determines how we act. When I think back on those times, I know how I was thinking determined how I behaved.
My conversations with imaginary friends and invisible horse rides didn’t embarrass me in elementary school because that kind of play was fun for me and I didn’t worry about what people thought.
My infatuation with certain boys affected how much time I spent on homework, how I felt about myself, and how I developed friendships with boys (If a boy was friendly, I often got a “crush” on him and didn’t just act like myself).
When I was going through that very angry year, I often thought about things like: “I must be going crazy”, “My kids would be better off with a different mother”, “I can’t do this!”, and “If I were a better Christian I wouldn’t feel/act this way.” All of those negative thoughts worked against me as I struggled to work through my feelings of anger that year.
My tendency to be pessimistic has often strangled the joy I could have in life. For some reason, I find that when life is going well I begin to think negatively and overanalyze everything. I don’t know, maybe it’s a control thing and I don’t want my happiness pulled out from under me like an old rug, so I roll up the rug myself so I don’t get hurt.
I have ruined special times with my husband when I have thought “I don’t want to be here!” and on the other hand, we’ve had very wonderful times when I’ve made a conscious decision to think, “I want to be here!”
Life has been way too difficult when I’ve let myself get into the habit of thinking, “I just can’t do all of this – it’s too hard!” But when I think, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)”, life becomes so much easier.
The way I have chosen to think over the years has led to clinical depression at times. I have learned to think differently in many situations, and that has led to an increased ability to handle many of the stresses of life.
As I turn my thoughts around again tonight, I realize that I’ve been scared of my old journals because I’m afraid I’ll ask, “What was I thinking?!” and be disgusted by old sinful thought patterns, embarrassed by immature thoughts and actions, and saddened by my old negative thoughts about much of life.
I feel hope trying to nudge its way into my brain tonight. I realize I can be proud of words that show how I’ve gradually matured throughout my life. I can be warmed by words that show my excitement about really being in love for the first time. I can be inspired by words that explore my relationship with God.
Yes, I will go back and read my old journals, and I won’t be afraid to ask, “What was I thinking?”
© Robyn Mulder 2004, therobynsnest.org