I have an insane amount of personal papers. You would think I was an author who planned to donate my papers to a university or a national archives, hah! How much, you say? 17 file boxes ::blush::
I kept a journal or diary starting when I was 7 years old and continued for about 30 years! I have actually gone back and read my childhood and teen diaries many times over. After that, I tend to avoid them because of painful memories – which isn’t really fair because I had loads of good times too. I just got my angst out in writing, so the journals make everything sound worse than it was!
After I stopped keeping a journal, I started keeping day books full of lists and accomplishments (or lack thereof), and mementos of events, such as concert and movie tickets.
My own personal archives consists of:
- 4 boxes of diaries and journals
- 1 box of day books (day planners/calendars)
- 1 box of mementos arranged by year
- 1 box of childhood photos taken by me and not by my mom, given to me by friends, etc.
- 2 boxes of childhood things like paper dolls, a stamp collection, and teen star magazines
- 1 box of stories, poems, plays and sketchbooks by young moi
- 2 boxes of letters sent to me when people still wrote letters
- 1 box of printed emails from a time when people still printed their emails (!)
- 1 box of university papers
- 1 box of work-related papers
- 2 boxes of Link’s school work (samples from all 13 years of public school)
I also have about 35 photo albums from pre-digital days!
You would think I must live in the past. I don’t think it’s true. I think my stuff accumulated for psychological reasons. My adult life had been unsettled and I liked the feeling of being able to pore over my personal history, write out my feelings, and move forward again.
Although I’m in a good place now, I am reluctant to pare down my stash or chuck it. Maybe, symbolically, I feel like that would be “the end of my story.”
And she lived out the rest of her days.
Especially to anyone out there who blogs – how would you feel about an undocumented life?