Ever since I was a small child, there have been two things that excite me like no other--school supplies and a new year. I suppose those two things could look pretty unrelated, but when I consider the things about each that excite me, those two things together make perfect sense.
My very favorite things on a school supply hunt are simple ones.
Something about clean pages on which I might just capture something important, create something memorable or posit an idea that could earn me that A+ made me a little giddy.
They did not even need to be fancy notebooks with the glittery or shiny covers.
I was all for color coding each class (of course I was) and having matching accessories for the class so I could quickly grab and go--whether from my locker or my desk.
I think flipping the last page on a calendar offers the same buzz. Starting at one with twelve stretching before you, calendars at the start of a year seem pretty exciting. It's easy to ignore that you likely already have something written on days in every month and that your work schedule isn't blocking out all those nice, clean white day squares.
It always looks like clear sailing and anything is possible when you crack open that brand new notebook or finally take one last glance at December's dates. No matter how horribly disappointing the prior twelve months have been, it seems like turning over a new calendar year renews your faith that anything is possible.
Another supply I always enjoyed buying had to do with COLOR. Whether there were 8 in the box or64, I needed crayons. I was so disappointed this year because I realized it would be the last year of buying crayons. Everyone is too old. I will buy them anyway, I'm sure.
Crayons carry a scent that can instantly transfer you somewhere in time where the biggest decision you had to make was cornflower or cerulean blue. When you look at your new calendar, days pop up in vibrant color--birthday balloons, anniversary sparkle, blue days of summer, fiery colors of fall, sport team colors...and those colors will stay as vibrant memories in your mind after the day passes. That's the one thing about calendars...even when the pages flip, you can still recall those memories' colors just like the memories evoked by the scent of crayons.
Next to paper, pens are my ultimate geek fetish.
This pen set is my ultimate favorite. Pilot pens, for whatever reason, feel awesome in my hand and my hand doesn't fatigue with certain models as quickly as they do with other pens. I used these bad boys for everything from notetaking to grading to doodling.
When you have a pen full of ink, you have a real treasure. You can record your thoughts whenever the whim strikes. You can allow someone to borrow your pen (although beware that the purple and green pens are hot targets for pen snatching) and feel like the most prepared person in the room.
As everyone knows, you put something in your calendar in ink and it's meant to be there. Ink is a monumental quality of an event or appointment worth memorializing.
It's becoming a bit of a trend I'm noticing that the supplies that transcend all boundaries, bouncing between school and work and home, are my favorites. The King of that realm remains the mighty Post-It.
You can jot down additions to your assignments, your day, your life and just stick them right where you can see them.
Whether it's on your calendar itself, the dashboard of your car or the mirror in your bathroom, this supply is something I can never have too many of nor refuse to purchase when I see them for a steal. Even if I'm not in the market on a particular shopping trip for Post-Its, I've been known to peruse the aisle containing them anyhow.
They can make even the dreariest of task seem a little less so--how can you dread something written on ultra purple post-its?
The only school supply that really doesn't translate into calendar world is an eraser...unless it's one of those really hard erasers that don't really erase, but rather leave big, black streaks and rip holes in the paper.
I know that to be true so although I am more than ready to bid 2011 a not-so-found adieu (as in, "Hey, 2011! Don't let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya!"), I know that I can't erase the pain and loss of the past year. I can't erase the changes that this year has made on every other year to come. I can't erase the manner in which my life has been changed, my life decisions influenced, and my future plans altered.
What I suppose I can try to do is turn the picture of 2011 into something else. Like when kids would turn F's into B's on their handwritten teacher report cards--when report cards were written by teachers. Or take the big fat zero scrawled by last year and scrawl some curls onto the top and decorate it with a clown hat and clown makeup.
What I cannot do is let 2011 define me anymore. It never truly did, but I want to be sure I don't accept the slings and arrows cast our way as our reality. We know what we lived and we know how it needs to be remembered.
That will be good enough.