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The Tale of My New Planner/Promise and Purpose Despite Imperfection

This afternoon Matt and I picked the kids up from where they had spent New Year’s Eve, and as soon as I got home I looked for my new planner. I love planners. I love paper planners, to be more precise, and towards the end of every year, one of my favorite activities is researching and buying a new one. I never buy the same one twice, either, because even though last year’s planner might have been good, I’m always sure I can find one that is better.

This year I did not spend nearly as much time researching planners as I would have liked (honestly, the researching part is at least as fun to me as having the planner itself). I began December in a whirlwind of planning for an educational conference in Brazil. Then there was the actual trip to Brazil. Then when I got home, 10 days before Christmas, I dove headfirst into all the work that had piled up during my 9-day trip and preparations for Christmas that hadn’t happened before I left. I kept thinking that I would research planners when I had some free time, but it just seemed like that pocket of free time never opened up.

Finally, it was Christmas Eve, we were on the way to my parents’ house, and I realized I had still not ordered a planner. I panicked, did a super quick perusal of recommendations from a Facebook post I had seen someone else write about planners, and then I ordered one, paid extra for expedited shipping, and crossed my fingers that it would arrive before the New Year. It did arrive before the New Year, and I couldn’t wait for time to get to know my planner (I realize how weird that may sound) and fill it out.

My planner is a beautiful, teal book that I ordered from Ink + Volt. (Just read this description of it from their website: The tight weave linen-like cover makes each one feel like a vintage book, but the vibrant colors give them a modern twist. Inside is crisp white paper, luxuriously smooth and thick. Don’t you want one now???)

When I opened the package from Ink + Volt last Friday, I admired the richly-colored cover, reverently opened and skimmed through the pages, and sat in the parking lot of my post office just staring at it for awhile.

As I sat there in my car admiring my new planner, my fingers brushing up and down the cover, it hit me what a mistake I had made. This planner has a “tight weave linen-like” cover. It’s gorgeous, it truly is, but I, Jill Clingan, should not own a book with a fabric cover. I am notorious for spilling water or coffee or tea. If I take this planner with me everywhere, as I plan to do, I will eventually knock over a hot cup of tea or a glass of ice water onto its cover. I just will. Then…that planner won’t look so pristine and beautiful anymore, and honestly, because of my ridiculous, perfectionistic tendencies, I worry that I won’t use it as much.

Today when I got home and was ready to work on my planner, though, I knew that it was still looking perfect and full of promise. I had already filled out birthdays and doctor’s appointments, but I was ready to write down some goals, block out time each day to write, and think ahead to what I would like to accomplish this year.

That was my plan, only…I couldn’t find my planner anywhere, and that seemed to me a bad omen for sure on this first day of the year. I searched shelves and counters and the piles of books beside my bedside table. I dug through my bag, checked under the bed, and peered under the car seat. No planner. Finally, I somehow remembered that I had put the planner in my glove box for a reason that I cannot remember at the moment. I rarely get into my glove box, so if I had not remembered where I had stashed it, months could have passed before I saw it again. Thankfully, though, I did remember, and I trudged back up the stairs, curled up on the couch, and started to pencil in my plans and dreams.

I always feel a lot of hope when I crack open the pages of a new planner for a new year. This time, though, I felt a little trepidation. I might leave my planner in a waiting room and never see it again. I might (most likely will) spill something on its cover. What then?

I like the idea of January 1 because it’s a fresh start. I haven’t had time to screw anything (or at least much) up yet. That idea is not a realistic (or a healthy) one, though. I am going to mess up. I just will. Spilling coffee on my planner will be way down on the list of ways I will prove myself far from perfect this year. On that inevitable day when my beautiful planner’s fabric cover is stained with water spots or coffee or tea, I hope I will remember that just because my planner isn’t perfect, its inside is still full of promise and purpose.

And maybe, just maybe, that stained cover will be a daily reminder that, even when I am not perfect, my inside is still full of promise and purpose, too.


1 Comment

  1. Lu Bodeman on January 2, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Beautiful planners! Loved your post, Jill! I, too, am a planner afficcionado, and I totally understand the feeling about the crisp new pages and a fresh start!! Have great year ahead!

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