Is Your Past Truly Yours?

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Last night I sat down intending to write about breaking up with friends, but I found myself tiptoeing around my own past in favor of speaking vaguely about my own friend breakup. Instead, I found myself holding back and hesitant about sharing specifics. It got me thinking: Which parts of my past are truly mine alone?

Image: theogeo via Flickr

Most of my important life moments involve friends, exes, family members and random strangers. Despite the presence of other actors in my past, it is just that: My past. And I think it deserves to be examined irregardless of how others feel.

In this so-called digital age, navigating your own past is even more muddled. With every open Facebook entry, tweet and blog post, there is always the off chance that anyone could see it, and think, “Well, that’s not who you were ten years ago!” or “How dare you write about me?!”

My older sister said she didn’t care what people thought about her. I paused and told her, “I don’t know if I care what other people think of me.” Having shared huge parts of my life online, I wonder how future employers will view my online identity. After all, we are told what we put on the Internet is forever. Believe me, I can still find my bad high school poetry.

When it comes to coming to terms with my own past, I wonder if it is something that should be kept offline in journals and therapy sessions. Is the past something to be dealt with privately and not publicly? This is an honest question because I honestly do not have an answer.

While at the bookstore a few months ago, I picked up a memoir where a mother lamented not sharing her life until she was well into her 50s. I found myself wondering if we should all be sharing and processing more. If we shared more of ourselves, would we all be better for it?

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