Me -- after hitting "Publish" on last Friday's post
Within hours of posting last Friday about empty journals and notebooks, and how I planned to use them all up, I had already retreated in near-panic from my publicly stated position.
However, after reading the very helpful comments on the post, I did some more thinking, and re-planned my plan.
To me, a lovely unused journal or hardcover notebook is something like a piece of beautiful china. The prevailing idea these days is that you should use your nice china whenever you want, not save it for some vaguely defined "tomorrow." But unlike china, which you can wash after using, you can't un-write in a journal. So I have given myself leeway to regard some of my journals as something more akin to pretty ornaments, something I own just because I like to look at them and they bring me joy. It's okay if I never write a single word in them.
But some of them are going to be put to use, and now I know how.
One (or more) will be for poetry. I like to compose poems on the computer because it's easier to make changes, but as a reader pointed out, computers can fail. I'd like to have them on paper as well, but not on letter-sized paper -- something smaller. It will be slow going; carpal tunnel makes my hand go numb quickly. But I'm looking forward to the transcription process.
A second journal will be for my medical history. I've been meaning to do this for ages, and the thought of using a journal has made the work more appealing. It's not an original idea -- during my mom's latest medical issue I discovered she kept a little notebook for doctor visits and so on, although it hadn't been updated in about five years (about the length of time we've been noticing memory loss . . . not a coincidence, I suspect). I'll offer to help update hers (but I doubt she will let me), or keep one myself. It would be very handy when I go with her to outpatients or to her doctor.
A third journal will be for a list of housekeeping jobs, especially infrequent ones, like cleaning the air exchanger or vacuuming the back of the fridge. The way time has been whizzing by the past few years, I'm finding these jobs are being put off for far too long, simply because I keep thinking it's not that long since I just did them. Also, we have a large house and I'm guilty of forgetting things that need done in the rooms we don't use anymore, so I really need reminders at hand. I have an unexciting journal for this purpose, because housekeeping is an unexciting job, but I need it to be sturdier than a notebook which can fall apart.
A fourth journal will make use of my "time travel journal" (remember the one with nonsensical quotes on it?) for -- what else -- keeping track of how I currently spend my time each day. One reader mentioned that he had found it helpful to keep a record of what he did in order to see more clearly where he could make changes to benefit his life, and that's something that I feel would be very useful for me, too. There are a few areas of my life where I feel I am falling short of my goals for "doing better," and they all involve the use of time in some way or another. I figure I have -- if I'm very lucky -- a maximum of twenty years of active life left, and I really, really don't want to continue to always be running late, wasting time, being disorganized, and procrastinating for all of those years.
Several readers said they use utilitarian notebooks instead of fancy ones, especially for lists and other temporary uses. I think this will work well for me, because the question of what to do with a filled journal and how to throw away something that's still attractive on the outside, just because it's filled up inside, has, in the past, kept me from starting at all. I have enough of these kinds of notebooks that I do not need to buy a thing. I'll use these for my decluttering, organizing, and shopping lists.
Thank you to everyone for your comments and encouragement, and for making me feel like I am not, in the end, a bit cracked for having a collection of empty books with nice covers!
Note that I haven't said anything about getting started on these journals yet . . . but now I have A Plan I Can Live With. (And actually I did start the housekeeping list. It's been too busy here this week to do more than that!)
It's exhausting, isn't it, kitty??
I'll be back on Poetry Monday with the theme "Modern Life" -- until then, please attempt to have a good weekend!