Escape of Permanence

Many years ago I found a planner that made my eyes light up. I told everyone about this planner that I loved. This inanimate thing – a stack of papers – made me feel worth-while. (to be fair, it’s really nice paper)  I know that sounds ridiculous, but to a struggling single mom who was getting emotionally knocked around on a daily basis it was what I needed. This planner combines scheduling and goal setting/tracking and journaling and to-do lists and creative space for whatever you want. Those pages asked me how I was doing each day. Those pages asked me what I wanted. Those pages showed me the bits of progress I couldn’t see day to day. I needed that.

After a couple years of leaning on this planner, life took a hard turn for me and spending extravagant money on a datebook wasn’t what I deemed necessary. When things got a little better I tried an inexpensive planner from the local department store. It wasn’t the same. There was no joy in using this planner. It was purely utilitarian. Which is fine for it’s essential purpose. But I wanted…..I needed more. This year I treated myself and got my planner back. As soon as it arrived in the mail that feeling returned. Please don’t laugh at me, but this feeling of warmth comes into my gut and radiates through my body. This planner saved my sanity at one time and I still find comfort in it. Holding this planner makes me feel like I’m going to be okay. I don’t always get to feel that way. As I opened my planner this year and held the pen in my hand ready to add my story, my hopes, my appointments to its glossy pages – I couldn’t.

Page one: my roadmap – where I write my dreams, both short term and long term. Um…..what are my dreams?
Page two: my plan – where I can break down my dreams into workable steps toward the goal. But, I still didn’t have a dream
Monthly focus, weekly focus, places to see, good things that happened – what would I write here?
Space of Infinite Possibility: this has been blank each week

I have struggled with my favorite planner this year. It still brings me joy to have it and to hold it. So why wasn’t I able to use it the way it was intended? As I stared at the nearly blank pages, day after day, I noticed that the sparse things I had written in it were in pencil. Lightly. Have you ever had the most mundane thing strike you in the most profound way? I slumped back in my chair with a sigh as I saw myself with a clearer lens. I looked at the page and realized I don’t have dreams – I don’t let myself dream because nothing is permanent. I can only write in pencil because, chance are, it will need to be erased later. It all goes away.

This is how I live my life: impermanently. I have been shown time and again that nothing lasts and I have held onto the ending of everything. I have lost sight of the journey before the endings. I have forgotten the joys in the beginnings. My mind and my heart hold fast to the emptiness when he left; the loneliness when we parted; the sorrow when she died; the destruction when it broke; the fear when it was taken away. There was so much more, but I am left with a need to write in pencil.

I sat with my planner and realized that I carry an eraser through life with me. I expect that anything I might want will be erased. This is not living.

So, I ordered some supplies. I got stickers and pens in so many colors and highlighters in almost as many colors. I sat down with my planner and I wrote in it. In ink. I put stickers on the pages. I highlighted days and plans. I made permanence. I know it was only a hair appointment, but I made it permanent. And…maybe it will change. Things happen (since my son came home the next day and told me he has a Scout event that same day). And I will write in ink on a new day.

My planner may end up messy, but I will put down my eraser now and then. That’s more important. I still have anxiety over doing it ‘wrong’….but that’s for another post.

If you find yourself holding your eraser a little too tightly, grab a pen and write a story with me that will last. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It only has to be ours.

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