For how many of you, is buying a calendar an annual event? Yes, I actively enter my activities, appointments and meetings on my phone calendar. I have my work email synced with that same calendar. I make sure each year, there is a picturesque large artsy or architectural or scientific version hanging on the wall which separates my desk from the kitchen space at home.
But I also use an inexpensive planning calendar. Despite all the above, if I do not physically write in a calendar, I forget. I do not lock in those appointments and such. The year’s time is a lecture in which I need to take notes to last the test of time. Decades ago I would splurge on pricey, pleather bound planners encrusted with my monogram. The planners came in twos, of course; one for weekly, lengthy descriptions and one for a quick monthly glance.
Twenty five years ago, computers were just beginning to be personal tools. But that is just an excuse. Those planners would remain pristinely gorgeous – unused, lasting throughout the year largely untouched. At best two or three months’ worth of events might be documented with a year’s worth of family members’ birthdays. But the gilded pages would lie empty as if the year in question had vanished. I too remained unorganized with my planning, unorganized with events, dodging use of those planners and really, perpetuating my self-disgust with an annual waste of money.
Now, years later, I have learned about beautiful planning calendars which encompass two years worth of time, are fairly decent with flowery heavy eight paper for $4.97. $4.97.
2020/2021. The Combo Calendar.
I was so proud. I bought the 2020/2021, $4.97 regulary priced planner on sale for $2.50. It was September, to be sure, but I did not mind that 2020 was almost over. I was smug, so smug with my crafty thriftiness. I began scheduling appointments for the coming year. But I found that I could not bring myself to write in it. By October I was heavily scheduling January appointments. I paper clipped the months of 2020 together so I could fast forward to January.
December came. I found myself making written notes on stickies. I bought fancy-schmancy gel color pens ( in all the latest updated, off color colors – perfect for organizational inspiration!) I mean, you cannot possibly organize your day without them. Am I right?
More sticky notes.
Ascending further into organizational heaven, I ordered a beautiful soft gray binder to hold my planner, notes, ideas and lists. All of my planning spiel in one spot. Still I would not write in that planner. I also would not purchase a new one. “Nope,” I thought to my ridiculous self. “I am going to train my brain. Use the 2020/2021 planner! Use it!” (Isn’t it funny how ones mind works?)
I bought the 2021/2022 version today. Yep, today. I am “so done” fighting with myself. $4.97 plus tax. It’s flowery exterior is a bit too bright and cheery, but it makes me smile. Even if the whole process of planning calendar purchase actually cost me $7.47 (and don’t even get me started on the lost time I spent upon the self-analysis). The price of a new year at $2.50 might be worthwhile and the lesson always is worth the price.
Hmm. You might say I am the owner of my new year…
Get out the color gel pens. I am back.
Almost two months have passed since I remembered the answer to an accounting question. With my recent promotion came the opportunity to attend distant leadership development and operational classes. With two iPads and my iPhone, I cross referenced materials and zoomed in and out of meetings and classes. The whole experience ended after two weeks with a comprehensive exam and a zoom presentation.
As the class proceeded, I could feel myself return to myself a little more. Even though I have been with my employer almost three years, (and even though I am fifty-five) I still feel like I never know what is going to hit on a particular day. My inner capabilities get challenged from a whole spectrum of directions.
Then I realized I rather liked that type of environment. Then I realized I remained calm. I am not sure why or how, but I do know that my years at the call center brought out that characteristic even more than a decade of teaching had. Of course I analyzed my calmness. Was it because I was unsure of myself and scared? No. Not scared. I will always be unsure of myself but I have ‘gotten my feet under me.’
All those years through motherhood, teaching, coaching, and even just living, I would always second guess myself. Always. I would look for others to take a lead in situations. It never occurred to me that I was the one to lead. I was the one to decide directions and outcomes. I was the one who took responsibility even when I was not the one to be accountable.
Second-guessing. All the time. Today, it is my only regret. I compromised my own soul. I did not learn. I made mistakes but mistakes that were really not mine to own.
I smile as I recall that moment in class. I had anxiously looked forward to the chance to learn with my peers from around the state while staying at my own store. As the class proceeded, I could feel myself return. “The Cost of Goods Sold.” Yikes. The irony in the subject matter is a bit too close to home on a personal level.
The boldest chapter yet.
As I enter into this new year, I visualize my emerging boldness with black leather knee high boots. They look rather sleek with their riding type profile.
Such a goofy mind game to play with myself. I needed to grab ahold of the “return to me” and yet propel myself into a new year. Yes, that was my visual to myself of boldness, of that sleek, classic and somewhat understated hint of dominance that long black boots seem to portray. (If they are done correctly.)
(Did I really just say that?)
I asked myself, “How old am I? What on earth am I doing? Why am I still playing games with myself?” Well, after much thought I realized that again, after decades of second guessing my own internal radar and chipping away at my confidence, a bit of black leather might be in order!
January 21, 2021.
Today, my mother is eighty-six. The years with her have granted us both the ability to share a smile through tearful moments and wicked female laughter. She is the smartest woman I know. Eighty-six. Sharp. Wise. Happy birthday, Mum.
A Diary of Sorts.
The inauguration marked a new beginning. What a positively bland statement, but I do not think a person can behold it too much. To own a new beginning with the boldness of honor, of an honor and respect that we all had taken for granted. No, they are not qualities to be assumed lightly or without thought.
There is no other way to begin – not anymore – other than with the boldest of spirits.
(Even if it takes a few times to succeed…)
Love. Lots of love and a kiss to boot,
Stephanie, the brick dandelion.