It’s amazing what reminiscing about the past can do for your current self.
Over the weekend, in between cleaning, I came across my collection of diaries/journals I kept from age 10-21. I used them to write about anything and everything. From the boys I had a crush on, to my thoughts on friends/family and the moments in my life which caused me great heartache or joy. I guess I’ve always loved to write.
Reading entries from 10 year old me to 21 year old me, it became incredibly apparent to me how much I have grown as a person. Of course, 10 year old me would be different to 26 year old me, that’s kind of a given (and a hope). The thing that surprised me was just how much I have matured from 21-26. How my views on life/love have changed. Most importantly, how my views on myself have changed. Reading diary entries from my 20 year old self was almost as if I was reading writing from someone else.
I feel like my most important years for growth (so far) have been ages 18-22. When high school ended and I began working, trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I began drifting away from certain friends and also making new ones. I also experienced some extremely happy times and some incredibly sad times between those ages. They were years I think many people will agree were formative and although some days were tough to get through, I now realise, looking back, that I needed those days and those years to move closer to self acceptance.
18 year old me honestly believed she needed to find love and get married/have babies by the time she was 25-30. 26 year old me is single and although she’d love to find love, marriage/babies is the furthest thing from her mind. 20 year old me was so content with finding a job which she could do forever. 26 year old me realises not all jobs are meant to last for years and even the ones you only get to work at for a few months will teach you something about people and a lot about yourself.
19 year old me was so hurt by people she didn’t even know. She was so intent on pleasing everyone and fixing everybody’s problems, even when they didn’t necessarily need her to help. 26 year old me has (only recently) realised that she cannot help anyone without first helping herself and loving herself/taking herself to the best of her ability.
Then there’s Teenage Me. I don’t even know where to start with her! I will say that when you’re 14, friends mean everything to you and in a different way than they do in adulthood. 14 year old me trusted people so easily, confided in the wrong people and got her heart broken by ‘friends’ who were honestly probably just as selfish as she was. 26 year old me still trusts people too easily, but knows when to keep her mouth shut regarding things she doesn’t want the world knowing about. She may not have as many friends as she did in high school (who does though?) but the ones she does have would be there for her at the drop of a hat.
The person I used to be, or the people I used to be, all lead me to be the woman I am today. No matter how embarrassing some of my old diary entries are – let me tell you, there are doozies – they truly remind me how far I have come in life and how much I have learned about myself and my capabilities as an individual over the years.
Usually I talk about moving forward and keeping the past in the past. I still think that this is an important way to get through life’s struggles, but sometimes it’s important to look back and marvel at how far you’ve come. Read an old diary, look through scrapbooks, smile at old photos and even read old letters from friends you may have forgotten you had. Then, turn your attention back to the You of today and hopefully you’ll see how far you’ve come and how much more you have left to achieve for yourself.
Sometimes, in order to continue down the path of self-acceptance, we need to look behind us every now and then.
Nostalgia is a powerful thing, don’t you agree? Did you keep a diary/journal as a teen? How have you changed through the years?