Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Through the years...

I don’t journal or keep a diary or anything like that. I know I should – lead the examined life and all – but I’ve never been able to keep at it consistently. But I do keep a calendar.

I live and die by my calendar. Nothing is official until it’s on the calendar. I’ll even go back and add stuff to the calendar after the fact – like my first sale wasn’t scheduled, but I went back and wrote it down and circled it in red. And I never throw them away.

DG shakes his head and calls me a pack rat, but my calendars are the journal/diary of my life. Want to know when AC cut her first tooth or slept through the night for the first time? I can pull a calendar from 2001 and tell you. And I can tell you the exact date DG took me out to dinner for the first time. It’s written in my calendar from 1994.

(I am missing many years – some got lost in a move. I mourn that loss. But it did teach me the importance of treating them with the care and respect they deserve, lest another decade of my life goes missing.)

I can tell you exactly when I fell off the wagon and broke my New Year’s Resolutions this year, because I kept track of my progress in my calendar. (No, I won’t tell you because it’s humiliating how quickly I gave up.) How many times did DG travel on business this year? What date did I leave for Scotland? When did I have my tires rotated?

From the practical to the ordinary, it’s all in my calendar. It’s not the same as a journal – I never write down what I’m thinking. I don’t examine my feelings or go deep into my psyche. But it’s my life, scribbled into neat little boxes and columns, and it can still tell me a lot about who I was and what I was doing at the time. It tells me what was important, what I was investing my time and energy in. So maybe there’s a nugget or two of wisdom in there somewhere after all.

In a couple of days, I’ll add the 2008 calendar to the stack, and I’ll be focused solely on my 2009 calendar. It’s already loaded with dates, schedules, etc, and 2009 is shaping up to be an interesting year. Who knows what else I’ll be able to add? And next December, before I tuck it away, I’ll be amazed at how far I’ve come.

Do you journal? Keep a diary? Anyone else keep their old calendars like I do?



Playground Monitor said...

I'm a calendar girl too. But I don't have as many of my old ones as you. When I file away the 2008 one, I'll have five years on hand. I'm guessing I probably tossed the older ones when we moved in 2005.

I spent part of yesterday transferring dates to my 2009 calendar -- birthdays, anniversaries, appointments I've already made.


Maven Linda said...

I keep my appointment calendars, too, and when something important happens I go back and add it after the fact. I've been keeping them for over twenty years. If nothing else, I figure they'll come in handy if I'm ever investigated for murder: I can go to the calendar and say, "On the ninth of January three years ago I was doing blah blah," and thus provide myself with an alibi. For heaven's sake, who remembers what they were doing a week ago, much less months or years ago, unless you were in the middle of a major crisis that forever marks the date in your memory?

To go off on a tangent, this is why I don't put much stock in "recovered memories." Something traumatic is pretty much sand-blasted into your memory, which is the basis of post-traumatic stress disorder. You don't forget the things you really wish you would forget. If it's bad, you have it forever.

My 2009 is already more crowded and busy than I wanted it to be. I'm writing an extra book I hadn't planned on, doing an extra speaking engagement (in San Diego!) that I hadn't planned on, plus the Keynote at the RWA conference . . . how did this happen? I was keeping 2009 clear, so I could concentrate on finishing the new house. Something went awry.

But back to the subject: my life is governed by my calendar, PC. It looks like the appointment book at a doctor's office. I get tired just looking at it. But it has births and deaths in it, the mundane in it -- in short, it has life in it.

PM's Mother said...

If I didn't keep a calendar I wouldn't know what day it is. Senility, you know. As to keeping them forever my motto is "In with the new and out with the old."

Now for ledgers, I keep them in my computer for two years; after that I don't care where the money went...it's gone after all.

Linda Winstead Jones said...

I keep a calendar, and yes, I've hung onto them for several years, now. I'd be lost without them. I'm also trying to keep a calendar on my computer, but it's NOT the same. I need the paper and pen.


Angel said...

I agree with LJ, I need the feel of pen and paper to make it right.

I thought I was a "Live and Die by the Calendar" girl until I got a look at PC's. Yeah, I'm seriously impressed.

I don't keep my calendars. I'm more of a journal girl myself. My journal entries go anywhere from simple lists of tasks I need to accomplish to the whining and crying that no one else wants to hear. If anyone ever read them, I'm afraid of what they'd think of me. Oh well. At least I recognize that I have issues...


Sherry Werth said...

I keep a calendar posted on the fridge with appts and such. If it's not written down, it ain't happening. I did buy a planner/calendar for 2009 to help organize me more. We'll see. : )

I do keep a journal by my bed to list five things I'm grateful for each day. On the rough days it's the basics: family, food, shelter, clothing and that this da*n day is over.

BTW, I'm still chuckling over Maven Linda's alibi calendar.

Playground Monitor said...

Not only is a calendar good for an alibi, it's good if the IRS ever audits you. I speak from experience.

Stephanie said...

I am sure it will surprise no one that I am also a calendar girl.

I am also sure no one will be surprised that some of my entries are color coded. It helps me keep my commitments clear (ok, clearer) in my own head to see green and know that is a work commitment while pink is fun.

I am happy to hear that you all add events after the fact, I thought that was only me and that it made me odd. It may still be odd but at least I now have pals who understand. :-)

Oh, and to answer PC's question, yes I keep my old calendars. I have never disposed of one on purpose. That would be like tossing away a chunk of my history. Plus, thanks to Maven Linda, I NOW understand the need for an alibi.

Smarty Pants said...

I maintain a digital calendar just so I don't forget to go places. Its nice because I don't have to carry things over for the next year, like birthdays. It does it automatically.

I have one real calendar on the wall for quick reference, but I don't write on it. Its mainly just for pretty. At work, I have one on my desk, but its really just to scribble phone numbers and notes on. I don't keep either of them unless I cut out the pictures to save. The info on them is irrelevant to me.

catslady said...

I also keep calendars. Been doing it for over 40 yrs. (I too think I've lost a couple over the years darn it). When I had kids I kept one for each of them too but that got to be too much so I didn't continue and they weren't interested. I do have one problem though - I wrote a lot of my notes in shorthand lol. I can read most of them but there are a few notations that I can't figure out and since that's a lost art I doubt if anyone else could ever read them once I'm gone.

Christine said...

Journaling is something I've done on and off over the years... then I worried about people reading them after I died, so I tossed them!!! I know... stupid, but really, there was some stuff in there I wouldn't want my kid to read at ANY AGE.

Blogging is what I do now... no one reads my blog... so no biggie there...

I keep a calendar... but haven't started my 09 calendar. Need to... my year is already getting out of control with darling daughter's schedule.

I don't save my calendars... not all... have baby's first year scrapbooked, and have year I was pregnant saved (mostly uber worried I'd never see her beautiful face or hold her in my arms--tough tough year), and I have the calendar from when I was getting married. It's a good idea to keep the calendar--might try that... but I hate keeping too much clutter about the house.

I save clutter keeping for the two packrats in my house...

And... I am behind on my new calendar... haven't bought my fridge calendar yet... a bit afraid to start writing all the dates in ;)