There’s something about notebooks that is instantly romantic. For me, it’s the soft leather covered journals with lined or graph paper - thick - 500 pages. New ones are full of potential energy, crisp and ready; old ones become family, familiar and worn, the used pages sometimes stained, full of thought, wanting to be re-read; the ones behind those still new and expectant, but almost ready for what’s to come.
Sometimes they throw tantrums. Sitting on the desk they remind me of ideas not followed through and plans not realized; blank pages waiting there wondering where I went with the morning journaling, silently reminding me.
Before the digital revolution (and yes, I was in the workforce when Blackberry first made their debut, and wondered who would ever want to be always connected to email) I had my daily calendar. My favorite to this day is the leather bound dated daily diary from Graphic Image with gold edged paper. The years I had bought either the red or black cover people mistakenly thought it was a Bible I was carrying everywhere (I switched to pastels after). It was always with me and was as prominent on my desk as my computer. Daily appointments and meetings went in - as well as moments, recaps, conversations, snippets of memories I didn’t want to lose. Yet it was cumbersome; and as computers locked to desks became laptops meant to travel and digital calendars became public and necessary with assistants putting last minute meetings five minutes from start times, phone calls became video calls with log-ins, my paper diary that I loved so much became outdated in minutes. Obsolete.
It’s been years that I made the switch to online calendars only - and it was necessary. In 2017 for nostalgia, I bought a beautiful cotton candy colored diary from Graphic Image with my name monogrammed in gold. It’s still on my desk, used for grocery lists, jotted notes - scratch paper.
There’s a coffee stain on the cover to show it’s dual use as a coaster when I’m working
I found something new though. One could argue it’s not new at all - possibly one of the oldest forms of scheduling.
The Family Calendar.
My digital calendar is primarily work based with personal scheduling (like the gym and to do lists) scattered throughout - and it’s intimate. Nate doesn’t have access to it nor do I see his. And although they do their job exceptionally well from a planning and micro level, I realized as I was planning my Summer-Family-Pact-Of- Activities-And-Wonder that it was terrible at the macro. What were our busy days as a family? What were our free ones? What did the weekends look like and how did Captain’s life look when it is visually written out in stories of a month instead of hours?
So I bought one. Starts in August, so I started in August. I mapped out Captain’s camp weeks and sports; I added in mine and Nate’s work trips; and just like that, a monthly visual of the busy weekends and free weekends appeared like someone had written me a message in invisible ink and I had put it up to the light.
As fast as I saw the white space, I went to work filling it in - the weekend we will camp at The La Jolla Campground with the natural lazy river and inner tube rentals; the Saturday Captain and I will take the train to San Juan Capistrano, eat breakfast, see the mission, and walk the pier. The sales meeting weekend I have in Laguna that should absolutely be extended by a day so we spend a long weekend by the ocean, and the possible date night in Vegas between set up and the trade show I have if I can get Nate to sneak away.
I have kept all my journals - the spiral five-star notebooks where I cut out inspiration pictures from magazines and catalogued lists of books to read and bottles of wine to buy. My diaries from the past years in various colors are shelved like books a little bit higher; I have taken them down on lazy days to re-read - I have found my recap of my first date with Nate, our first vacation together, journals of old parties, transcripts of conversations that took me immediately back to that moment. These are the priceless things. What you take if there’s a fire. And if my family calendar experiment gives me the ability to plan better to make more memories with this beautiful life I have, I can’t think of a better purchase.
The Family Calendar
It’s even color coded