What I Learned from My 7th-12th Grade Diaries



I found them hidden away, in a dusty old lockbox that hadn’t been opened for years. I knew they were somewhere, but I had no idea where. A month-long clean out of my closet revealed great treasures, among them, five diaries I’d kept from 7th through 12th grade.

Long before Facebook or Twitter, long before any blogging platform was conceived, there were these old fashioned things called diaries where crazy sentimental people documented every day events. Their deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings were revealed in the forever locked-up recesses of pages for no one to view but themselves. Ya, believe it or not, I was one of those crazy diary keepers.

I didn’t read every word of those five diaries. That would take a day or two. But I learned a lot about myself from what I did read. So how would I summarize my discoveries? The person I am today is fundamentally the same person I was 20-30 years ago. When I step back and make broad sweeping generalizations, it’s pretty remarkable how much I HAVEN’T changed. And it’s phenomenal to see how my past reflected my present.

Curious? Here’s what I found…


So ya, let’s just get that out there. I’ve always been an overachiever, striving to do my personal best. I have to ask myself, why would a 7th grader feel the need to document her grades in her diary if it weren’t internally driven? My only answer is, it’s just who I am, I guess. I want to do well, I’ve always wanted to do well, so be it. Looks like I’ll have to accept that as something that was in me from the start.


I’ve always been detail oriented. In this entry, which I vividly recall keeping for weeks, maybe months, I documented every single shirt a boy-crush of mine owned. What was the point of documenting every single shirt a human being owned, I’m not sure except pure teenage infatuation. The only other explanation is that I am and always have been a detail oriented person. I notice everything, and my brain documents it all, whether I write it down or not. Yep, edging on obsessive, that’s the real, hard truth of who I am.


I like to share my insights, if nothing else for my future self to remember and reflect on. There’s something about the way my brain was wired from the start – I make observations about life, and then I write them down for future reference. In this case, hey, maybe that advice from my teenage self will become valuable four years from now?!


Apparently, I’ve always needed an outlet for processing and documenting my days. The simplicity of this entry tells it all. (And no, I have no idea what the 3 days refers to! Apparently it was important.)


These emotionally charged entries really got me. While the details of what I’d say today would be different, the general feeling is still the same. Ya, still wish people would say what they really think. Ya, still wish people would stop putting off all the things they should do today instead of tomorrow. Yep, still hate it when people are judged by their cover. And yep, still believe the world would be a much better place if people accepted themselves and one another for who they truly are.


This was a power packed page! Where to start? Let’s just forget that first paragraph – complicated, awkward?! And did you note the number one New Year’s resolution from that year? “To be myself (which covers a lot).” Um. Ya. Didn’t I just kick off this month, January 2014, indicating that same desire (re-read When Becoming Yourself Means More Than Just  Bit of Bling)? Maybe it’s time I actually met that goal! And what about the “I really want to be friendly to everybody and make them feel their best. Not that I didn’t do that before, but I really want to do it now.” Interesting. For some reason, this sentence stopped me dead in my tracks when I read it the first time. It tells me there’s something about the way God made me that makes me want to help others feel their best, help them see what’s unique and beautiful about themselves. It’s part of the big-picture goal for my work here on the blog.


OK. I’m a little embarrassed to share this one because it’s a little high and mighty, as if I’m SOOOO beyond high school I can’t stand it. But it provides insight into something I’ve felt most of my grown up life, and that is, I’ve always felt much older than my real age (and LOOKED much younger than my real age). My mom recently reminded me I was walking by 9 months and completely potty trained by 18 months. So I’ve battled this “old soul” feeling for a long time. Perhaps I’ve been given this old soul for a reason?


Fascinating. This is probably the most eye opening diary entry I read. My blog vision page is due for a MAJOR re-vamp, but if you read it as-is today, you will discover the basic vision for this blog is what I wrote in my diary entry 20 years ago. Now if that isn’t telling of God’s working over time in one individual’s heart, I don’t know what is. Why did I have such a strong desire to write that article about lonely, separated, ignored people? I have absolutely no recollection. And why, today, would I state the main purpose of my blog is to provide a voice for people and stories that would otherwise go unheard, untold? These are the little things that make me believe God is real, His desires for my life, unwavering.

So thank you for joining me on this scavenger hunt of a diary discovery! It was a little random, a little kooky, and a little unexpected, but I’m hoping it was as interesting for you as it was fun for me. If you were one of those crazy diary keepers back when, maybe you, too, will take a second look at the words you kept secret. I pray you’ll find hidden treasures that’ll help uncover more of the real you.


  1. Vicki Thunstrom says:

    I loved reading this Amy! If it was warmer, I’d be out in the garage digging out the box with my old diaries! I know I’d find some similar entries. I think we are very much alike in a lot of ways. 🙂 Thanks for sharing you. 🙂

  2. Valerie Hubel says:

    This was fun – I remember you as always being nice to everyone – you really did (and do) care about all others. Super cool to see how the thread of your life has continued in the same sort of manner.

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