Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Mess of This Year's Book

I'm right at that cusp between looking back through the bewildering, worn-edged clutter of my day planner for 2012, and looking forward to the clean, sleek, empty Moleskine for 2013 into which I've only just begun to enter the first advance notes.

I still use a day planner, with paper pages that you turn with your fingers and write on in ball-point pen. I can't imagine forgoing this tangible, material record of my day-to-day life, any more than I can make the transition to reading the newspaper online. And every December, I imagine the coming year's book won't end up looking like the chaotic mess I've made over the last eleven months. I still try hard, at this point, to write in a controlled, neat script, carefully budgeting the space of each day's allotted inch-and-a-quarter to allow for some logic as the schedule fills in.

The natural sloppiness of my hand will take over in earnest about a week into the New Year. By then, what I'd in theory like my life to look like will collide with the reality of the choices I make from week to week, with what's demanded of me, with what I agree to, with what I want in the moment. There will be the notes transferred from one week's page to the next, a record of my sometimes epic procrastinations. There will be anxious reminders wedged in between consecutive meetings. I can trace the record of mounting anxiety about being overbooked by scanning this year's planner for the pages where I've even made notes to myself about when I intend to fit in exercise, when I intend to call a friend with whom I want to catch up.

This year, my resolution is not to fantasize about that clean, ordered book that I once again won't keep, but to look back with affection and wonder at the fullness of what's been, and to welcome the messiness of life as it lives itself.

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