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Should I throw away these old diaries?

(18 Posts)
pppickupapenguin Wed 30-Sep-09 13:57:59

I found some old diaries of mine from years and years ago and I was reading through them. They made me feel really cringey and embarrassed to read as I was such a different person then. At the time I was in (unrequited) love with someone and shortly after I met my DH. I was still in love with the other person when I met DH (though it did stop fairly quickly afterwards) and though the diaires don't say as much, it's pretty obvious.

So, basically - I can't decide whether to throw the diaries away or not. Part of me wants to keep the memories of this man as it was so important to me at the time) and they represent years and years of my life. Also part of me thinks that maybe my children will like to read them, when they're older and - not to get too depressing here! - when I'm no longer here. The diaries detail when I met my DH and our early years together so that might be nice for them to read. On the other hand, some of it is very personal and do I really want my kids reading about the first time I slept with my DH?! [ick emoticon]. And surely they wouldn't want to read about me being in love with somebody else?! Another factor is that I wouldn't want my DH to read them. He has no idea I was in love with this man and, whilst I probably should've told him, I felt there was no point as nothing EVER happened and this other person wasn't even aware of how I felt. I don't feel comfortable having something around that I don't want DH to see (I don't like the thought of having a secret from him) but I wouldn't want him to be upset by reading it either. I did love reading about this man from my past again but it did also upset me to think of those times so maybe I should ditch them and try to lose the reminders.

I really can't decide what to do - I am a ridiculously sentimental person and half of me wants to keep them and half of me wants to get rid of everything from that part of my life. I'm sorry to waffle on - this really isn't a problem like some of the people on this thread are having, I know, so I hope people don't mind me faffing on here. I just wondered what you thought.

PrettyCandles Wed 30-Sep-09 14:05:50

If it was me, I would put them in a shoebox, tape it up securely, label it something like "ppppenguin's private memory box" and tuck it away in a very inconvenient corner of the loft.

But then I am a terrible hoarder. I struggle to get rid of stuff. Though I have found that it is easier to get rid of stuff when I haven't seen it for a long time.

HecatesTwopenceworth Wed 30-Sep-09 14:10:23

Nobody can tell you whether or not to throw them because it's such a personal thing.

I wouldn't keep such kind of things because to me, it's just stuff. I don't really have emotional ties to bits of paper, cards and things.

But to many people, it is so important and it's like a paper trail of their life.

If you do want to keep them, and you know that your husband would be upset by them, make sure you hide them well! You do not want this to come back and bite you in the arse in a few years! - or for them to be found after your death. [morbid]

said Wed 30-Sep-09 14:14:34

Oh, I loved knowing that my parents had been in love with other people before they met each other. It made them seem more rounded people. I would only throw away old love letters/diaries if I felt a bit repulsed about the person now (have done that). Otherwise, keep for now and think about again in another 5- 10 years?

crokky Wed 30-Sep-09 14:18:18

Personally, I would get rid of them, but then I am not a sentimental person at all.

If you are having trouble deciding, keep them for a while and think about it. PrettyCandles has made a very good suggestion about taping up a box, so perhaps do that.

WhenwillIfeelnormal Wed 30-Sep-09 14:39:07

Penguin - please don't get rid of them! Many years ago and somewhat ridiculously, I didn't want my DH to know that I had dumped someone for him. It's probably because he'd met this character and thought he was a bit ridiculous and I was a bit embarrassed about ever admitting I'd gone out with said plonker. We were moving house one day and I found my diaries. Of course, because it was all in the same year, there were all my entries about meeting DH and how I felt about him. But there was also earlier stuff about plonker....so in a very uncharacteristically unsentimental way, I binned them.

At some point, I fessed all to DH about plonker and we now laugh about it. But I wish I had those diaries still so that I could show our children when they are older - censored no doubt! How about you gently tell your DH (as part of a bigger conversation) that you had a bit of a crush on someone before and in your younger state, thought it was real love? I'm sure he'd understand, especially if you point out that it took DH to make you realise it so wasn't?

I'm sure your DH would love to read all the wonderful things you said about him too.

We were having a clear-out earier this year and found all the notes we used to send eachother (pre-mobile days you see) and it was wonderful reading them together again. Our daughter read the non-sexual ones and after a few minutes declared them too pappy to continue reading! However in a separate conversation, she said that she was really pleased that her Mum and Dad love each other so much and that nothing much had changed in 25 years, which gave me a very warm feeling.

Geocentric Wed 30-Sep-09 14:44:05

Penguin, I've been wondering the same thing - loads of diaries with stuff about ex-BF. I rather fancied myself as the new Anäis Nin at the time and they're all elegantly written in leather-bound notebooks hmm

overmydeadbody Wed 30-Sep-09 14:48:04

Penguin, don't get rid of them!

My dad has all his mother's old diaries, he is very sentimental about keeping them, but he also feels very strongly that diaries are private personal things and as such he will not read them, or even open them and have a flick through, and won;t let any of us either.

He says we must respect her privacy.

juicychops Wed 30-Sep-09 15:15:06

i would keep them. i was sorting out my mum's garage with her a few months ago and found her diaries of when she was in her early 20s. we had a look through them together and there were details about dates she went on before my dad and then her first dates with my dad where they went, what they got up to, when my dad gave my mum a love bite!! they have been divorced for years now but it was lovely to read about her past, even the bits that were about other blokes etc. my mum was engaged before she even met my dad and its just interesting to read about the life she had before the one with my dad, kids etc.

i think years down the line you may regret chucking them so if your not sure what to do then that means your not ready to throw them away. i am a terribly sentimental person and have a big memory box with everything that is or has been important to me over my 24 years of life.

once they are gone then they are gone forever

pppickupapenguin Wed 30-Sep-09 15:31:11

Thank you everyone, that's really helped me. It's reat to know trhat some of you have enjoyed reading such things about your parents. And WhenWillIfeel, that's a fantastic idea about bringing it up in a 'I thought it was love' way. I suppose I feel guilty about it because I still often dream about man-from-past and I know something could have happened bewteen us had I had the courage to tell him how I felt.

Thanks ever so muhc for your thoguhts everyone, I think I will keep them taped up in a box, that's a great idea.

Greenwoode Fri 14-Apr-17 12:20:20

Please don't throw them away. I'm doing academic analysis of diaries and I'd love to have a look at them? I'm happy for any personal details in the diaries including yourself to be fully anonymised.

saoirse31 Fri 14-Apr-17 13:31:39

In two minds, could be lovely for ur DC, I suppose I'd make sure there's nothing that would hurt them in there tho. Have read small part of one of DM diaries found in attic, years ago, not pleasant.

MrsHughesCarson Fri 14-Apr-17 13:40:32

I threw my childhood /teenage diaries away when I was in my twenties because my DH found them and read them without my permission. I have regretted it ever since and never forgiven him . I would love to reread them now but the memories have been tainted.

something2say Fri 14-Apr-17 16:14:48

I've kept journals since I was sixteen. There are loads of them. I don't have kids so I intend to read them at the end of my life and relive all the fun and heartache. It's amazing going through them.

As an aside, my parents divorced and my dad had loads of gfs. To hear you adult children speak of your parents only loving one person is really sweet!

onemorecupofcoffeefortheroad Fri 14-Apr-17 16:46:00

Do not throw them away - I have kept all my teenage diaries and they are filled with important social history. Give them to a local studies centre with instructions that they should not be made public for 100 years (or some such date) if you can't bear to read them.

ForTheSakeOfFuck Fri 14-Apr-17 16:56:15

Oh god keep keep keep. You might be embarrassed today but in another twenty years you might laugh like a drain, and in another twenty your DCs and DGCs will have the story of your real, warts-and-all life to know and love and remember you by. I'd look into how to store them longterm, and whilst they may make you cringe a bit now, don't throw away the person you were. Go back, mentally, and give her a hug. She was the less experienced version of you and the wisdom and experience you have now came through her mistakes and faults. Cherish her.

Bluebellforest1 Fri 14-Apr-17 16:57:00

Back in the late 70s, I nursed, in her home, an elderly lady who had been married to a wealthy newspaper editor (not the daily fail!). She had kept incredibly detailed diaries all her life, and often, in the evening, she would say "get 1921 off the shelf dear, and read it to me". It was wonderful stuff, so much so that I often read on through the night.
Don't throw them away, maybe just edit if necessary. I wish I'd kept mine.

joanslegs Fri 14-Apr-17 21:26:55

Have you ever listened to the Mortified podcasts? It's adults reading from their childhood diaries - I laugh and cry listening to them and really wish I had kept mine.
getmortified.com/podcast/

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