Planner Paradise

A new year is always exciting. It is filled with hope, opportunities and unseen adventures.  I’ve never really been one for New Year’s resolutions, as I’m self-aware enough to realize that I am not going to stick with something just because the calendar says it is January 1. I tend to just do something once I decide that is what I want to do rather than wait for a seemingly arbitrary date to commence the undertaking.  (If we are going to set capricious dates though, we should make every February 29 Outrageous Resolution Day!  Rather than going with the yearly normal like “lose ten pounds” or “go to the gym four times a week” or “volunteer more,” every Leap Year Day can be for crazy, over-the-top resolutions like “I will wear polka-dots and stripes in some combination every day for a month” or “I will only eat blue food until Easter Outrageous Resolutions Day could become an instant hit!) Although I don’t do the resolutions thing, there are other parts of rolling from the old to the new that I do love.

One of my favorite things about saying goodbye to the outgoing year and welcoming the new one is that the turning of the last calendar page means it is time to chuck the calendar I’ve been staring at for the last twelve months and replace it with a fresh, fabulous new one. I love calendars of all types- wall calendars (especially the ones with organizational pockets and stickers), daily desk calendars, and planners.

While I have transferred many of my daily activities to be technologically based (everything from keeping in touch via Skype/Face Time to reading nearly all of my books on my Nook), this organizational tidbit of my life is still firmly in the land of paper/pencil.  I love perusing the stores right after the new year, when everything is 50% off, picking out just the perfect planner to see me through the next twelve months. Color and pattern are at the top of the priority list, but design and construction are not to be forgotten. This year, the winner has a dark brown background on which are embossed pink and orange butterflies surrounded by spring green flowers. Both the elastic band to close the book as well as the font inside are a pretty raspberry pink color. This is the planner that will see me through the fanatical list-making that is sure to happen in the next few months; it will be packed and hauled to just about the opposite side of the Earth; hopefully it will utilized as my close companion in the transition to a new job once we get to Chengdu; and it will serve as a way to keep track of when all of our guests are coming and going from their trips to the Middle Kingdom. (Hint. Hint.)

After getting my colorful, sparkling new planner home, I immediately want to begin organizing life for the upcoming year. This means finding some pretty colored pens and filling the book with relevant birthdays, anniversaries and appointments that have already been set.  As many planners these days are 18-month ones, it also means that January doesn’t fall on the first page, but rather several months in, the booklet having started in July. This means I need to dig through my assortment of color-coordinated school supplies and find a matching butterfly clip (the winner is spring green) to hold the already used pages out of the way, clipping them to the front cover.  (I’ve been doing this for years, but only within the last couple did I realize that this wonderful technique is not one I dreamed up myself.  It took a bit to realize where I got it from, but once I did, I can’t believe I didn’t see it all along. I have vivid memories of sitting, after school, in my dad’s counselor’s office at Jefferson Junior High School.  When it was time to pack up to go home at the end of the day, as he gathered his things to go, one think that always got packed up was his dark blue Lifetouch daily planner.  I can clearly see the giant black and silver butterfly clip holding the used pages to the front of the planner itself.  While my planner and clip are definitely more fashionable than my dad’s ever were, apparently his sense of organization unconsciously rubbed off on my all those years ago!)

My love of calendars stems from two roots: first, my obsessive need to be organized (I call it prepared, Thad calls it bossy) and second, my love of all things fluffy and florally and girly.  There is little that combines those two wonderful concepts like a calendar, fresh out of its plastic wrap and ready to help me put a whole new year in its place!