Thursday, January 6, 2011

More Calendars = More Time?

Wow. Here it is January 6 already, and I'm longing for a bit of that slack tide that I wrote about in my last post almost a month ago! Or looking for some way to stop time, or at least to slow it down.

Meanwhile, I've noticed that by quirk of fate, through a combination of gifts and purchases, I now have five calendars--two small decorative ones, two large art ones, and one good sized very plain one. Five calendars, not counting the two family calendars in our kitchen. Nor the two daily planners that I bought--one pocket-sized one that rides along in my pocketbook and one larger one for my desk.

I'm wondering what's going on here. Do I somehow think that more calendars equal more time? Or that having more calendars and planners increases my chances of being organized and using my time well?

That has a bit of the ring (or sting?) of truth about it. This starting a new year thing has reactivated my fantasies of being more organized, using my time better, getting more accomplished. And behind those fantasies lies a bigger, harder task--getting clearer about my life!

Maybe I always feel this way right after New Year's. Maybe I always get caught up in the new year/new me/new life kind of thing. There's something about passing this large marker in time of one year turning to the next that stirs up questions, most of them full of high expectations, about the territory that I've crossed in the year that is past and where I hope to be by the time New Year's rolls around again.

But somehow it feels more intense a longing this year. Maybe it's because I spent several days right before Christmas helping to move my mother from Maine to Connecticut and then spend time in the days after Christmas supporting Anna in finishing her college applications.

All I know is that I stood for almost an hour in the daily planner aisle of Staples the other day, searching and hoping for the "perfect planner," not knowing exactly what that would be but figuring I'd recognize it if and when I saw it. I chatted with other shoppers who came and went. We all agreed that there were way too many choices and that none was "just right." And yet they seemed able to make a decision and move on.

I stayed there and stayed there, walking a few feet to my left and trying those, then to my right and looking there. Back and forth, back and forth. I'm sure I probably looked many times at the same ones, not remembering one title or cover from the next.

In the end, after selecting the large plain calendar that I eventually bought, a planner that I had no doubt stared at before but not noticed caught my eye. Its pages are laid out quite differently from the others, and while I can't say it's perfect, it was different enough to seem worth trying. So I bought it along with the calendar.

But for right now it's that large, plain, black-ink-on-white-paper calendar that is beckoning to me. And I think that's because for right now it looks so clean and spacious, like a fresh snowfall before any footprints have crossed it. It seems to be suggesting to me something about simplicity, something about slowing down rather than speeding up, and something about taking stock before the turn of the year gains momentum and brings new deadlines.

I think I'd secretly like to choose one of the calendar's spare white squares and mark it off all to myself, set up some boundaries, and climb right in. And then simply luxuriate in one day--one twenty-four hour block--without any agenda. No expectations. No obligations. Just a day.


Cori Lynn Berg said...

Something about this really rings true for me Suki. I don't even work a regular 9 to 5 job.. and yet I feel like i'm starting the new year burned out!

aderby said...

Sukie, this is me all over. I love the rituals of the New Year, and spend a certain amount of time considering the past year and planning the new. I did a burning bowl ceremony one year at midnight on New Year's Eve, which was hugely satisfying. And at work this year, I cajoled all my co-workers into following a Jones family tradition of climbing onto chairs and jumping into the New Year.
I also identify with a fascination with calenders, organizers, planners, as if I find just the correct tool, I will be transformed into an organized person. Hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure another trip to Staples, or the App Store will do it....

Sukie Curtis said...

Nor do I work a 9 to 5 job, Cori Lynn! I think there can be so much packed in around the holidays that it almost begs for a week of doing nothing before really starting the year!

Sukie Curtis said...

Tell me about the burning bowl ceremony! I am intrigued. I like the jumping into the new year, too! I feel as if I've jumped and want to climb back out of the stream and get in more slowly...

Jeannette said...

Ha, Ha....last year we were given three calendars for the walls...this year none. Last year I split coffee on my planner in November and was happy that I would soon get a new one ...well...not as much hit the new one, but it already is stained.

Quiet times, deep time, unmarked on any calendar...yes. That is a real goal. Happy New Year to you.