Turning the Page

When I started 6th grade, I was given a day planner. Our entire school had them, and we were required to write down all of our assignments and tests, and get them signed by our parents. This was 1998, before smart phones and essentially the internet in a usable form, so a lot of the successful adults I knew also had day planners. I got into the habit of writing things down, and after a stint in high school of writing important reminders on my arms and hands instead of on paper, it’s been a habit that I’ve kept ever since.

There’s something about writing things down that really makes it significant in my brain. There have been several studies over the last few years about how writing as opposed to typing forms different relationships to information in the brain, and frankly they’ve been kind of a relief to read. When I’ve tried to keep an electronic calendar it’s always been a mess, I double book myself and forget about things, and have a hard time planning on a long-term timeline. Keeping a planner keeps me accountable to myself, and present-day Laura has solid evidence of what past Laura needed her to do to succeed.

A few years ago, I started using a Passion Planner to keep organized. This was when I was working at Close Up, and kept a Sunday-Thursday work week. I hadn’t realized until then how hard it was to find a planner with a full Sunday space – most planners have half space on Saturday and Sunday, which just wasn’t going to work for me. I have bought one every year since, and while I haven’t always used every feature it has, I always feel less stressed and more on top of my goals when I’m writing in and referring to it regularly. To me, starting a new year has been a literal switch of the page, from one planner to the next.

I have mixed feelings about 2017 because it was full of existential dread on a national and international level, but also full of personal accomplishment and growth. I landed a job that I really love. I left my old job feeling satisfied with what I had accomplished there, and knowing that I learned a lot about what I want out of a job and what I don’t. I turned 30. We adopted a dog. I finally made it to Canada. We moved sight unseen to a new city, and while I was totally unsure of the choice at the time, am really glad we made the leap (and am in love with our house and neighborhood). Kyle and I hit our five year anniversary. I officiated two weddings. I got to spend (a drama free!) Christmas with my family.

I have big hopes for 2018. I want to buy our first house. I want to take so many trips (Guatemala, camping in the UP, and a road trip through the Midwest top the list currently). I want to get another dog so Abigail has a playmate. I am aiming to run a half marathon on May 20th (my goal is to finish, at whatever speed that requires). I want to build a solid Chicago friend group (also, why is making friends as an adult so hard! Where does one even find friends!) I want to officiate a wedding for someone I don’t know. I want to master the manual settings on my camera. I feel like I can do all of these things, it’s just going to mean staying focused and motivated.

This month marks 5 years of this blog’s existence. I know I have some regular readers (hi! and thank you!) and some random internet strangers (hello! thank you for reading!) and while I really do keep this up as a life record for myself, I always enjoy seeing that others have followed along too. Writing here has created space for me to reflect, and has been a comfortable place for me to share my photography. Even though I’m much better about using Facebook and Instagram on a micro level, posting things there just doesn’t bring me the same joy as hitting the publish button here. In 2018, I hope to keep writing and posting and having meaningful adventures. Cheers!

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