Found: Journal from the Past

I find a handwritten journal with entries from 1991 through 1993 that brings back memories and foreshadows the future.

I’ve been packing on and off for my upcoming move. I’ve been in this house for 15 years and, in that time, have accumulated a lot of stuff. As anyone who has moved can tell you, it’s best to weed out the junk before packing to minimize what you pack. That’s what I’ve been doing since I returned home in September.

Along the way, I’ve been finding all kinds of lost treasures.

The Journal

Journal Cover
The journal I found in my closet on Tuesday.

While cleaning out my “stationery closet” — a closet in the room I used as on office on and off over the past 15 years — I stumbled upon a hard-cover “blank book” that wasn’t blank. I opened it up to discover a journal I had begun back in 1991 that had entries spanning through 1993. It was basically my blog, before blogs existed — a journal of what was going on in my life when I found time to write about it.

I didn’t have much time to look through it — I was leaving shortly to meet some friends for dinner — but I did read enough to realize that I’d found something special: a look into my past life. And, as evidenced on the very first paragraph of the first page’s entry, dated September 10, 1991, it hinted at the difficulties I was already having with the man I’d later marry:

Yet another in a long line of “Nothing” Books. When I bought this in Williamsburg last Saturday, Mike told the people we were with that I’d never write in it. So begins my efforts to prove him wrong.

Open Journal Page
The first page in my journal, dated September 10, 1991.

Yes, I really wrote that more than 21 years ago. Even then, Mike was putting me down.

One of my biggest gripes with him over the years was his habit of putting me down — almost gleefully — in front of family and friends. It usually came out of the blue, totally unexpected, usually on a day when we were getting along just fine. We’d be with other people and he’d say something about me to point out one of my weaknesses or something dumb I’d said or done while alone with him. Something I thought he’d be smart — or kind — enough to keep to himself. It was belittling and embarrassing and the cause of more than a few arguments over the years. It was one of the reasons I didn’t marry him until much, much later, when I thought — mistakenly, it seems — that we were really life partners forever and that I could trust him.

(Yes, I’m an idiot. I’m sure he’s pointing out my stupidity for trusting him to his girlfriend and his friends regularly, even to this day. Love is apparently not just blind, but stupid.)

I remember why I called it a “Nothing” book. Back in the 1980’s I got my first blank book, which was actually titled “The Nothing Book.” (I’m sure I have it around somewhere; I don’t throw anything like that away.) I don’t think I wrote much in it at all.

But this book was more than half filled. A gold mine or stories, full of accounts of traveling for work and pleasure, camping and motorcycle trips, and my freelance career. It’s a diary where I documented what was going on in my life in occasional entries over a two-year period when I was in my early thirties and just beginning to realize what life was all about.

It will make interesting reading and fodder for future blog posts.

2 thoughts on “Found: Journal from the Past

  1. No, Maria. You are not an idiot. I don’t remember who said it but the quote is from memory. ” I would rather regret the things I did, than the things I didn’t do…”

    • Oh, Mike, I think that if I ever had a tombstone (I prefer cremation), THAT’S what should be written on it. I truly believe that life should be lived to its fullest and that it’s better to try something you might later regret than to not try anything new at all. That was yet another belief that my husband and I apparently didn’t share.

      Your comment made me cry, but it also reminded me that I’m doing the right things with my life. Thank you.

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