Saturday, January 10, 2009

A new day (timer)

At this time of the year, new calendars are going up on walls all over the world. Choosing the right calendar deserves considerable thought -- it will after all be hanging in front of you for twelve months. It may take some searching to find one that properly expresses a little about you. What’s it gonna be? Firemen hunks? Wild flower meadows? Artsy photography? Pamela Sue? Clever cats? Or whatever comes free from the bank?

There’s something unexpectedly exciting about the ceremony of hanging it up. You flip through the months and admire the photos. You choose the proper place for display. But it’s the realization of a new year spread out before you that arouses the thrill of possibilities.

For me it’s the ritual of starting a shiny new Day-Timer that sets my heart a flutter.

The trip to Office Depot is in itself a highly anticipated errand. Stepping through the automatic doors alerts me to the anticipation of what lies ahead. My senses are bombarded by an assault of directional signs, the smell of cardboard packaging, and the buzz of sales associates talking to one another on headsets.

While my brain knows I’m on a mission, my inner child can’t help but be distracted by all the colorful Post-it notes and chunky Lucite pens. The amazing assortment of paper choices has me in a thrall. I search for the calendar section, but to get there, I need to pass by the digital cameras (which much be admired) and the thinnest of laptops (begging to be touched).

And look, there just on the other side of the aisle are the latest all-in-one printers – they copy, scan, fax, print photos, remind you to floss and make cappuccino.

Finally I find myself among rows and shelves filled with Business Planners and Day-Timers. I’m pretty sure I know what I want, but I must look at them all just to be certain. Is it more efficient to plan by week or by month? Is it more convenient to have a small notebook size, a tablet size or a desk cover?

Black says classic, but red would brighten my world. One has more writing space but the other has better paper stock. Another has all the hours of the day, but one without hours is much cheaper. By now my head is starting to hurt and the candy bars at the check out are calling to me.

The decision is made and I finger the cover of my choice. I’m pleased that if offers a month at a glance along with a lined weekly section that will corral my erratic handwriting. In the back are area codes, toll free numbers and important dates that I will never remember to reference, but the effort is appreciated.

At home with my purchase, I climb onto my bed, bringing along my tattered 2008 edition, the pristine 2009 selection, an ink pen, colored pencils and highlighters. Transferring info from old to new is a many splendored thing.

First I check all the notes I’ve written in the margins towards the end of the year. Those are my reminders of things to do. Then I transfer any appointments already made to the appropriate day/time and highlight them in alternating blue or yellow so they can’t be missed. Now I must go through week by week and log in all birthdays and anniversaries for the coming year. That’s where the colored pencils come in.

All this organization makes me giddy with an efficiency high.

Then, just because I can’t help myself, I flip through the weeks of the past year. And there is my life sprawled out in bad penmanship. All the meetings, lunch dates and haircuts. Phone numbers, books to read, names of people I can no longer remember. Recipes to locate, job leads and blog reminders.

As I stare at the scribbles and notations, an unwarranted sadness comes over me and releases in a big sigh. Well, maybe not sadness so much as melancholy. Is it the blatant evidence of passing time? Or a life perceived as too full or too empty?

Ah, no time to be mopey. I’ve got a glossy 2009 Day-Timer, long-lasting highlighters and a year to fill up with new adventures. Time’s a wastin’.

1 comment:

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

I can click through pages of Amazons wall calendars for hours. I always buy two wall calendars each year, one for office, one for home. It's an important decision 'cause you have look at them all year.

One time as a joke someone bought me a Mr. Winkle calendar and by May I wanted to torch it.