The Crazy Suburban Mom: A disorganized, cluttered, and imperfect joy

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A disorganized, cluttered, and imperfect joy

There's just something about planners.  I bought my first one decades ago; a cheap no-name purple striped plastic job a little bigger then a personal Filofax but smaller then an A5.  I wasn't shopping for one but when I held it and flipped through the neat, organized pages I imagined a better life.

I wasn't sure how or why my life would work better if I took it home, but something inside told me to buy it, so I did.  

And that's as far as I got.  I opened it all the time but never wrote a thing; I didn't want to wreck the neat pages or use it wrong. It frustrated me and eventually I gave it to a friend  who was in a Doctorate Program ( in a different state ).

 I forgot about my planner until I visited my friend several years later.  I was awed; she'd done what I couldn't accomplish.  It was stuffed to busting and falling apart from years of daily use. I wanted to dive in to it and look at my friends life from the inside out.  But I just couldn't bring myself to ask - It seemed too intimate a thing to paw through. 

All I did was gaze at this study of perfectly, disorganized organization and feel liked I'd failed somehow.

She'd managed to do what I couldn't. I was enchanted... And jealous.  I stewed about it for quite some time, eventually buying a Portland Personal.

But I couldn't get that to work either. Back then I didn't know that planner needs are unique, what works for one person - fails miserably for another.  My Portland, like the cheap purple plastic planner, sat around unused  but I didn't give up hope. I couldn't bring myself to give this one away.

Last year I found Philofaxy and realized it wasn't the planner that was the problem.  It wasn't me either really. The failure was a function of not knowing what might work for me plus the inertia I experience in the pursuit of perfection.  

Shortly after that revelation I knew I could make a planner work; I just had to keep trying...

I bought planners right and left...

A rainbow of them; big and small.

Some I ordered online at full price...

Others arrived in the mail with foreign postmarks...

Some were heavily discounted, some not.  

They all appeal to me, though some work better then others. 

I make each one a singular thing, individual... Me.

Adding whatever makes me want to open them multiple times a day.

And will help me manage my life.

Some pages are more art then appointments.

Others have an eclectic Smash Book vibe.

Some pages are almost meditative...

Some don't fit any category but their imperfection still rings right.

 No  matter how well each one works (or doesn't) they all help me manage my life in some way and give me that same  jolt of organizing adrenaline.

 The cheap purple plastic one didn't work but  it did fulfill it's promise of a better life.  Without that first spark of  possibility I'd never have gotten the others.  As many people throughout history have noticed, everything that doesn't work brings you closer to what does. 

And I get closer to Planner Nirvana all the time but if I never get quite there, that's okay too.   As Greg Anderson said,  “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”

And this journey does give me joy;  a disorganized,  sometimes cluttered and always imperfect joy, but joy none the less.


carou 8/7/12, 8:06 AM  

THANK YOU for this post.

Everytime I see posts like these, I'm so glad I'm not alone in this cluttered, messy, planner mania.

The joy, indeed, is in the journey (:

Zara M. 8/11/12, 11:24 AM  

Oh my Goodness I burst out laughing midpost - the part where all of hell broke loose - Its exactly what seems to be happening to me. This laughter is nervous relief - I'm not insane after all :)

I have seven Filofaxes and I still can't seem to feel 100 per cent at home with any of them. I'm constantly on the search for new ways to use them, and new ways to roush them up and make them at least look used.

Its a very weird fixation we have :)


Tracy Reinhardt 8/11/12, 11:33 AM  

Carou, I feel the same way!

Zara, It is an odd fixation but as far as addictions go, its pretty fabulous :)


DEM 8/12/12, 10:19 PM  

Great post! I think this happens to many of us! There is something about a planner that looks disheveled and unorganized! It give me the impression that it is used constantly and is loved. I love that!

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