My refrigerator is the center of my universe, the heart and soul of my being and the hub of all that defines my world. Not because of the mince pie, Jack cheese and leftovers contained within. But because of the Almighty Calendar that hangs on its shiny surface—eye-level, next to the school lunch menu, surrounded by tiny scraps of paper upon which I scrawled phone numbers I need to know but will never remember. And like a lot of well-worn items in my household, it looks as though it belongs there—wedged comfortably between favorite photos, prized artwork and those all-important memos and appointment cards without which I would surely shrivel up and die.
Each perfect square on that grand and glorious grid of events represents a chunk of precious time. And it MUST have something scribbled within it. Someone’s birthday. A holiday mealtime. A veterinary appointment. A vacation destination. A reminder to return the kids’ library books. Something. Anything. Except nothingness—which would imply a sort of nothingness about me, I suppose; or perhaps that downtime actually exists in my harried world.
What a ludicrous notion.
There are swimming lessons, birthday parties and play rehearsals to attend. Soccer games, haircuts and doctors’ visits galore. Empty blocks simply do not reflect the reality that is mine. Besides, the voids make me feel guilty—as if I have nothing better to do than sit around and watch Play-Doh crumble and dry while the kids are at school. Calendars crammed to capacity with details of this or that planned affair give me a real sense of purpose, of direction, of connectedness with the outside world—linking me to all the goings-on I have chosen to include (willingly or not). And they provide a healthy dose of structure and predictability, too—both of which are sorely lacking here. In sum, calendars bring a smattering of order to my otherwise disordered world. I shudder to think where I’d be without mine.
That said, I love calendars, despite my personal limitations in dealing with them. I especially enjoy receiving a new one for Christmas and spending a lazy afternoon in January slathering its pristine little blocks with all sorts of important dates and times to remember. Every syllable precisely placed. I’m quite certain I fool a myriad of individuals into believing that I’m impeccably organized. Even I believe it for a time.
But by February the frenzied pace of the world returns and information starts spilling from those neat and tidy little squares into the narrow margins. Stuff gets scribbled out or transferred to other squares and big, ugly arrows are drawn across what was once an unsullied masterpiece of time management—which is a lot like life, I suppose.
It’s subject to change.
Remarkably, most of us manage to muddle through the madness with a few reroutings and derailments here and there, which builds character, I’m told. Maybe that’s what makes the month-by-month journey worth journeying—even if it’s just to the fridge.
Planet Mom: It’s where I live. Visit me there at www.facebook.com/NotesfromPlanetMom.
P.S. Now would be the PERFECT TIME to order one of those bad ass calendars by The Bloggess (aka Jenny Lawson). Click here and prepare to cackle until you cannot breathe or until you soil yourself. Possibly both. http://www.zazzle.com/bloggess_2012_calendar-158892766191191563
Copyright 2011 Melinda L. Wentzel (Note: This column previously appeared in Life in Altamonte Springs City Magazine of central Florida, USA, January 2012)