When I was a teenager, I was better at keeping a journal than I am now. I do write every day for this website, but I don’t technically journal what’s been going on in my life. I don’t write about what I do day-to-day. I don’t generally write about what happens to me. I think I should have been doing this. I think it would have helped me to remember what was actually going on in my life.
I remember reading journal entries from when I was a teenager as an older teenager and thinking to myself, “What in the heck was wrong with me?” I had some very dark thoughts. Life seemed very tough. Life was tough as a teenager. I know I give teenagers this bad rap by saying they’re stupid, they are, but being a teenager isn’t easy. You’re not an adult. You’re not a kid. There are all these awful physical, mental, and emotional changes going on inside your body.
Teenagers do seem to feel things more strongly. Things that wouldn’t necessarily affect me today had this catastrophic effect on me back then. Seriously, was I on crack? I know I wasn’t on crack, I was just a teenager.
Here’s the thing though, if I hadn’t had those journals to look back on, I might have thought that being a teenager wasn’t really so bad. It was bad. It was awful. I think if I wouldn’t have written down how awful it was, I would have let my older self berate my younger self for being such a wimp. Those things really were how I felt. I really did spiral into depression over this or over that. I really did feel as if there was no hope for me. It was an extremely difficult time.
I think sometimes we second-guess our memories. We tell ourselves, “It wasn’t that bad.” We usually say this when we’re thinking about doing something we did once. We sort of remember what happened, but because we don’t have any record of how it actually was, we think it might be a good idea to do this thing again. When we do the thing again and realize that this thing sucks, we regain some of our memories as to why we didn’t like it in the first place. If we had kept journals and written, “Today I tried skydiving. I peed myself and the guy who was jumping with me. It sucked. Never doing it again,” we would know that we probably don’t want to go skydiving again.
Maybe you’ll look back at your old journals and wonder if you were on crack, but you might look at them and feel sorry for yourself. Those were really your emotions. That time in your life really was difficult for you.