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I was organizing my bookcase the other day and was surprised how many journals I have collected over the years. The picture above is all of the ones I could find, although I know there are at least five more that are lost in childhood boxes or were misplaced in my many moves or purposefully thrown away.

I got my first journal in the first grade. It was a Lisa Frank diary with a lock that never worked. I wrote about my favorite movie (Beauty and the Beast), how it was “finalee” snowing, and adventures with my friend Lauren selling Babysitter’s Little Sister books to our elderly neighbors (surprisingly yes, they did buy a few! I hope Mr. Bundros enjoyed Karen Brewer’s stories as much as we did.)

I also have travel journals from all of my international trips I’ve taken: Paris (filled with hilarious quotes from high school friends), Jamaica (where I wrote about how hot it was), Peru (amazing stories that I am so glad I recorded), and Germany (where I recorded every restaurant I visited and everything I purchased).

The other day I spent a long time going through these journals. I was delighted at my little girl stories, ashamed at my horrible writing, and disgusted for all the boys I had a crush on in my adolescence (seriously, Young Ginna, what were you thinking?).

I finally got to the journal from 2008, where I first met and recorded when J and I started dated. It was a red with a heart on the front. The first entry was written March 9, 2008:

“For forty-five minutes I walked along the aisle of Barnes & Noble pondering and browsing the selections of journals available…. I must confess I liked the heart on the front because in some subconscious and superstitious way, I think I am hoping and wishing that during these pages I will fall in love for the first time.”

I read this the other day shocked to find out that some 50 pages later, I do in fact fall in love for the first time! How amazing that I foreshadowed that in the beginning of my journal.

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Do you keep a journal? Have you found that you journal less and blog more? What do you feel when you go back and look at your old journal entries?

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  • I love love journaling. However, last year I got tired of hurling my 20 something journals around that I shredded them all. I regret it sometimes, but most times i feel like it was sort of like a letting for for me. I still have journals, but I keep the writing to a minimal though.

  • Do you still write in a journal? How often?

    I took a mandatory course in college where we had to pick a person whose papers were in the archives and do a study on their life. My classmates and I all got completely caught up in the lives of these people who lived amazing lives long ago. It was amazing how intimately we got to know them after reading just their journals and letters. I have kept a journal on and off since I was about 8, but after that experience, I will never stop.

    Also like you, reading my teen journals is so tough–everything was so dramatic!

    Does the journal with the blue swirls on the side have a happy face on it? I think I have the same one(!), which I store with my other journals in an antique trunk that doubles as a coffee table.

  • Oh I love this…I blogged recently about journaling too…it’s too awesome isn’t it to find an old journal!! Love the entry about meeting the hubby!! I was able to convert a few people on my blog to journal:-)

  • @catherine: Here are some good ones:
    C: Catherine, Leah, Ginna
    L: Of course, I’M LAST! Wait, am I?

    C: So, Matteo, is it like “eh, the Eiffel Tower.. whatever.?”
    M: No I like it!

    G: So, it will be 1:00 our time and 7:00 their time… oh who cares?!

    L: Does someone want to come over there with us? All of a sudden I have multiple personalities.

    Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go to America.

  • I’ve ditched all my old journals – most when I looked back on them in high school (alternately entertaining and cringemaking), and my last one a couple of months ago. I had a pretty troubled home life for a while so there are a few entries that are rather painful to read, and when my mum recently dropped off the last of my diaries (wonder if she read them) it went straight in the bin.

    I still have most of the angsty songs I wrote in high school, and my attempts at writing a book.