Life is unexpected. It’s weird and incredible how time can affect your feelings toward things you used to feel so strongly about, or even change points of view you used to believe in so much. Emotions are in constant movement. they’re unsettling, and we navigate them from a very young age. With time we become experts at controlling what we feel and we choose who is worthy of even knowing about those feelings.
For me? I choose a notebook over people. No judgements, no ugly looks. It is also kind of lonely, I admit that, but I believe it helped me in a way no one every will. I guess this explains why I want to write for a living–I’m totally serious. The words that we use to express ourselves are the window to our true selves. Words have a huge power attached to them.
Think about it. What would you do if you had the chance to go back in time? To see for yourself what on Earth were you thinking just three years ago? I had the chance to sit in the front row of my younger years when I found my long-forgotten diary. Part of me thought it was better to leave the past in the past, but the other, bigger part of me was really curious of what I would find. I actually learned a few things and it made me think about the present more than I expected.
1. I learned that the most important things are not material.
We live in such a materialistic world now. Navigating through the pages of this diary I saw how I wasn’t that dependent on empty, material stuff I can’t live without now. I could be happy without my phone in my hands, I used to have long late night conversations with friends I don’t necessarily talk to anymore, I used to spend quality time with those who I cared about. I didn’t have to worry about money or social media, things that are such a big part of our society now. It actually made me realized how much I should’ve paid more attention to the things that really mattered back then.
2. I learned that no matter how hard times are, you will always get through it.
I went through some hard times, everybody does. I’ve been sad, angry, disappointed, in love, heartbroken, you name it. And at those times I thought that those problems I had were never going to end. But–surprise, surprise–they did. As I kept reading my misfortunes, I realized that they didn’t effect me anymore. Taking that logic into consideration, I understood that any problems I could be having now, one day I will be remembering them and being at peace with them.
3. I learned to never say never.
This is one of those things that everybody can relate to. We all have said “I will never like him every again!”, “A tattoo? Are you crazy?”, “I’m never going to act like that, it’s dumb,” or “I’ll wait until I’m an adult to do that.” Result: you end up contradicting yourself. It’s hard to know where you will be in four to five years. Although you can predict many things, it’s not a sure bet to say everything would go according to the plan you once had. Still, I don’t regret any of them because experience led me to where I am now and I’m happy with it.
4. I learned change is good.
One morning you just wake up and something is different. Maybe you chose to alter something in your looks, you moved out, you made new friends, you found your dream job; it could be many things. Change helps you learn and experiment with different sides of yourself. It helped me know myself better as well.
5. I learned you have to love yourself first.
When you’re young, you think you have the world in the palm of your hand. That’s what is so great about this time. You want to fall in love, get your fairytale happy ending exactly the way you wanted, jump into things and grow up too fast. What most people understand is that before you can love someone, you have to love yourself first. I didn’t know at the time what it was to love myself, and that is why for many girls is so hard to fall in love. They think it’s real, but how could you make something your everything when you are not even sure if you like the way you are? Always, always, always love yourself first and then spread that love to others.
6. I learned to be grateful and appreciative.
Sometimes we don’t realize the value of people until we lose them. Life is too short to go unaware of those who care for you or the things you have. You don’t know if tomorrow they’ll be gone from your life. Be grateful, because I learned the hard way that time is precious and you have to make the most of it while you can.
I realized while reading my old journal that what seemed to be so important to me back then changed radically. If I could talk to the old me, I would tell her that it’s okay, that everything turned out right. If you start thinking about it, whatever problem you may be experimenting, the “future you” will look back and think how different life was then. But I guess that is life: a series of consecutive experiences that will build you up as a person, piece by piece. That is exactly what I learned from my high school diary.
Photo by: Byron Hernandez