To Burn Or Not To Burn…

Positively No Negativity Challenge

Day 62 of 84

Every now and then I root through a certain cupboard to pull out journals that have been filled over the past eight years. I sit quietly and read them, all of them, and ask myself why I keep them. These journals are filled with post divorce angst, dealing with my ex, being single in my 50s and my awakening creative writing process.

One year I was engaged to be married but was having second thoughts. I wasn’t sure if this union would be good for my adolescent son or me. I was in a battle with myself until the day I decided to reread my journals for the previous year, just to get a feel of my mindset over that time.  As I read, a pattern began to emerge. I was able to see that much of the time I was frustrated with the direction of the relationship and that there were important character issues involved. I underlined in red every negative thing and every concern I had written about the person I was about to marry. Those red lines made me able to see clearly what I had to do.

I’ve kept those journals and many more over the next few years. Sometimes when I read them I get into a negative funk as I relive situations that have been resolved and are gone forever.

So why do I keep reading my journals? Why do I keep them?

Do I want to let go of the past or not?

Yesterday, the first day of the year, I got them all out once again and read through. My plan was to read and then burn every last journal.


There were some that deserved to be burned and I did burn them. Those were the ones with whining over my lot in life and death wishes for my ex. However, there were others that chronicled the awakening of my writing processes and outlined the book that I would later write and publish. There were recipes, revelations, notes and menus, but there was also the logical working out of certain issues. Reading some of them made me proud of where I am now compared to where I was then.  It made me more positive about the life I have now and much more grateful for it.

At the end of the day I decided to keep some of my journals for yet another year. I’m not sure what it is that makes me want to hang on to them, but something Stuart McLean said makes sense to me in this instance.

                  “You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.”

I want to let go of the parts of my past that are negative, but the positive awakenings and ideas are a part of my past that I cherish. Would I be mortified if someone read them after I’m gone?

I don’t think so.

Today I am grateful:

1. For lobster chowder

2. Music

3. Clean air to breathe

4. Creativity

5. Friends, near, far and cyber


3 thoughts on “To Burn Or Not To Burn…

  1. Good morning Christine, this reminds me of a certain box that I still have downstairs…It contains bad souvenirs, legal stuff, with my ex boss. Even if I won my case, since it happened in year 2000, I was never able to open it. Now, I just made myself a promise, by the end of January this year, I will open it, give it a quick glance, then… good bye. Now I feel ready to do it, and I’m anxious to see it burn!…Thanks Christine 😉


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