From Where I Sit – Day by Day

Calendar season begins in earnest in November. Mall kiosks spring up overnight, offering their wares. Larger vacant spaces are rented by calendar stores. Retailers like Staples and Grand & Toy carry a full line of dated planners in every size, description, and price point. Even Dollarama has a few affordable styles.

Seemingly there are calendars for every taste and purpose (though in my humble opinion there are way too many cat ones!). It doesn’t appear that the move to handheld devices and technological solutions for self-organization has bit into the market. Some of us still like the tactile see-it-all-at-a-glance approach to knowing where we should be and when.

I especially like the small, purse-sized month-at-a-glance version and have been using it successfully for years. It’s skinny and lightweight. When trying to pick a date for the next meeting or nail appointment, I can see all the openings at once. It makes counting six weeks ahead from the last haircut a snap. It works.

I’ve also got the big, thick coil-bound Brownline Daily Planner. That thing now sets me back over $35. It’s got room for noting appointments every half hour from seven in the morning to eight-thirty in the evening. There are eight larger areas on the right side for a to-do list. Most important is the checkbox for a small thrill when you actually do the thing you intended to do. If I was in charge of the design I’d improve its usefulness by adding a full-page month-at-a-glance at monthly intervals. They have four (cheesy) pages dedicated to this at the front of the book. Inadequate.

Over the years I’ve had various desktop page-a-day calendars. The handbag ones were beautiful. The motivational ones just made me feel guilty because I wasn’t getting better every day in every way. The cartoon ones made me laugh. The art masterpieces ones made me feel cultured. My 2013 Word of the Day is all ready to go.

For the last several years we’ve used the Servus Credit Union’s wall calendar as a command centre summary. It’s taped inside the cupboard door nearest the phone. Its larger boxes capture everything from chiropractor appointments to evenings out with friends. It lets each of us know what the other is doing. Or would, if Roy kept his schedule updated.

On my desk under the clear plastic liner of my blotter are the 2012 and 2013 yearly calendars found at the back of merchant calendars. I just need to be sure I’m looking at the right one!

There’s something quite lovely about starting a brand new calendar. It’s full of possibilities and represents a fresh start. But the one thing a calendar can’t do is make us live each day as if it was our last. That takes mindfulness and hard work, from where I sit.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.

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