Sunday, January 02, 2011

Getting It Together

Once a year or so, usually toward the end of a year or right at the beginning of a new year, I have a fleeting sense of being organized. That's the day I go to Office Depot or Staples and buy new innards for my planner and start trying to get a sense of having it together for the coming year. 

Yes, Jake, I know that a paper planner is "old school." Did you think I needed you to mention that to make me feel old? But I guess I AM old school. I have numerous electronic organizers including my IPOD, my Blackberry, my Outlook calendar, my computer at work and the one at home, but there's something about writing the coming year's birthdays and circling paydays on the little boxes on that paper calendar that gives me a sense of old-fashioned "readiness" and my place in the world. 

Somehow when you're looking at the week's tasks on your Outlook you don't get that "big picture" understanding of what we're all a part of. This year January brings my sister Debbie's and my friend Cathy's and my friend David's birthdays. I see my other sister's upcoming surgery and my hair appointment and the guild meeting and dinners with friends. I see planning meetings and business commitments and the day the mortgage payment is due. There are notes about sad events, too, dates that I move from one year's calendar to another as if there's any danger I'll ever forget them. There are dates that mean something important to me and to no one else. 

I still make lists on paper in the section I've named, with a great creative spirit, "Lists." Lists of groceries to be bought, projects to be knit, books to be read, gift ideas for birthdays and anniversaries and holidays in the future. Couldn't they be on my Blackberry? Sure. But there's something about being able to run my fingers down the paper and check them off as they're completed or as a decision is made to abandon one.

There's a section called "Writing." Here's the place that I jot down a plot idea or a character description or an idea for a blog post. These are the thoughts that flit through my mind as I drive the long route to work in the morning. Most of these notes never ever result in anything but they're there if I need them.

I have moved along in a few ways. I've stopped using the address directory pages that the planner folks keep giving us. All the important numbers are in one of the two cell phones I schlep around with me 24/7 (or "31" as the kid on Two and a Half Men says). If I want a snail mail address for some inconceivable reason, it's in one of the computers or on a memory stick somewhere.(There are even two or three stamps tucked into one of the pockets of the planner should I want to mail something--I think they've been there for several years and I only use them for the occasional birthday or sympathy card.)  And my planner can't hold the audiobooks I listen to on the IPOD or the books I read on the Kindle. 

Anyway, that day of feeling in control of my life isn't today. This year I think it was December 14. Now I'm still carrying around that big red leather binder with all those calendars and lists but I've already lost control of the year. It's only the 2nd and I already feel lost. Oh, well. Maybe next year.


Nease's Needlework said...

Yay, paper calendars! I went out and bought mine in September and have used it over and over ever since. Yes, I do feel a little foolish lugging it into work, but you know what? It's harder to misplace than a Blackberry! Have you ever seen someone mis-place their Blackberry? Oh, the horror! I really, really enjoy the feel of putting pen to paper and organizing my thoughts. Quieting down those restless voices that say "oh, you forgot something" by filling in the blanks. Writing down your thoughts is a lot like, hmm, like, oh, I don't know, knitting a pair of socks instead of buying them from the department store??

Anonymous said...

Oh good there are 3 of us

-- Jolie said...

I also love my Dayrunner, which I've had for years. And it never needs batteries. I have the extra pockets, so there are other little things tucked in mine. And my husband knows that if he needs an address or phone number, it's in the black book.

I did leave my Dayrunner at a guild meeting once. I'm sure I was just as crazy as the person who lost the Blackberry. My life is in there!