I keep a calendar for daily, weekly and monthly events. This calendar stays close to me at all times. Those dates, notes, phone numbers and loose pieces of paper are housed in a light brown, leather bound book that zips all the way around. It’s soft and has some bruising and discoloration in more than a few places. I often tell myself, I should get myself a new calendar. I even tried it once, but eventually sent it back because it just didn’t feel right. It was too wide and it didn’t zip. It had one pathetic snap. This was not enough to keep the contents of my life safe and sound.
I carry this calendar with me everywhere I go. Back and forth from home to work each day. To meetings. To conferences. In my suitcase. There is just something about looking at all that print. My life in calendar form. Sometimes I have to highlight or write in different colored pen so certain things can stand out. I love the sense of orderliness when I zip open that binder.
When it’s quiet and I have some extra time I enjoy looking at the back of my calendar to see notes that I’ve taken. These notes reflect as far back as 13 years ago when I was sitting at a conference and had nothing to take notes on but my trusty calendar. I’ve got names of new staff members and their mentors. Directions (before Navigation) to places that were important to me 8 years ago such as school districts I’ve visited or stores that I frequented infrequently are scratched in fading pen. Four years ago I wrote in all the names of my sister’s and mother’s doctors, the meds they took and notes from PT,OT and Speech.
When I read these notes I am transformed to my world all those years ago. Thirteen years ago I still lived in the suburbs. Eight years ago my life hadn’t yet been touched by cancer. Four years ago I became immersed in the world of hospitals and doctors for a second time in my life and it was getting hard to keep it all straight.
I don’t really need those conference notes, directions, teacher names or doctor’s names anymore but something is stopping me from simply ripping those pages out and putting in clean white sheets. Those pieces of paper represent my life. Even now, as I’m thumbing through the tattered notes that hang on to a 7 ring binder, I remember the many ideas I thought important enough to record. Quotes. Lists. Pictures I sketched. Book titles that absolutely had to be purchased. Ideas I hoped would come to fruition.
Most anyone could pick up my calendar and get a pretty accurate sense of who I am and what’s important to me by flipping through the pages. And, for that reason I just can’t see clear to erase this record of me.