don't knock it till you try it

Treadmill iPad Desk

About this time last year, I was celebrating the newfound benefits of having a treadmill at home and I looked back on 2011 through the lens of books read. This year – this magical 2012 – has been such a year of surprises and changes that I will look at the little things instead.  So with that said …

Simple Joy 1:  Journaling

Once upon a time I was an avid journaler and I still have a small chest of old notebooks from the days when I wrote on a regular basis.  Then a few years went by when I didn’t journal much at all.  2007? 2010?  No idea what I was thinking about in those years since I have pretty much nothing written.  But ah, 2012!  This year, for the first time in maybe EVER, I wrote every single day!!  Two things helped make this happen:

First, AwesomeNote on the iPad.  My fully-fleshed-out-with-occasional-photos journal entries go here and they’re backed up to Evernote everyday.  At the beginning of 2012 the entries were short – maybe a paragraph at most – and basically summarized what was done that day.  By April, the entries were at least a page, full of angst and excitement about job hunting, career questions, uncertainty, and all the delicious fiction I was getting from the public library. By November, the entries included photos or sketches, snippets of dreams remembered, story ideas, musings on work projects, and celebrations of our new home. I had no idea my journal writing had changed so much over the course of one year until I started looking back over the entries today.

Second, the Five-Year Journal from Chronicle Books.

five year memory book

Squeezing a year into a book

This little puppy is probably what kept me motivated to keep writing in the first place.  I would look over my longer journal entry in AwesomeNote to find the snippets I wanted to remember next year and five years from now. I ended up getting various 5-year-journal editions for my family for Christmas, I loved this so much.  I am so excited to start filling in another year and see all the entries from last year!  Like, downright nerd giddy!

Simple Joy 2:  A Paper Planner

At the beginning of 2012 I was completely enmeshed in Google Calendar for all my scheduling and reminding needs.  I shared calendars with my husband, I had SMS alerts set up, I subscribed to a couple public calendars – it seemed like a great system.

And then we moved.

Two time zones away.

And Google Calendar changed all my carefully plotted-out events by 2 hours.

I won’t go into how incredibly stupid I find this “feature” but the good news is – I finally rediscovered my love of paper planners. I didn’t even get anything fancy, just a plain spiral bound academic year planner.  But I made a paper wrapper for it out of an 11 x 17 sheet of paper (incredibly handy to have around for brainstorming, even if you don’t have any printers that would take such a size) and now I have a place to put stickers!


7 stickers

Planner in September 2012

Another physical medium rediscovered! I’m thinking about making another paper cover since I’ve already filled up the first one and maybe having a spare cover for days when I feel like sketching on the cover.

Lots of stickers

Planner in December 2012

I also discovered the joy of post-it notes in calendars.  I’ve been using the post-its as a sort of to-do / follow-up list.  I have blank ones scattered throughout the planner and if I need to follow-up with someone in a couple weeks, I put a reminder on the post-it.  I had forgotten how much fun it is to write and scribble and cross out.  Not to mention the feel of flipping through tabbed pages.  I’m already looking forward to picking out next year’s planner.

Simple Joy 3: Bend

Bend.  Bend, Oregon.

snow! trees! mountains!

The view from campus

I mentioned the new job and the new hometown.  It feels like there is so much more to say about this wonderful, incredible, absurd place.  Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of things to find frustrating, too, just as there would be anywhere.  But Bend has a charm to it.  I haven’t had a honeymoon phase with any of my new towns in about 10 years – or the last three moves – and it seems Bend is making up for all that.  We’ve been here five months now and I am still thoroughly loving it, finding new things to enjoy all the time.  I imagine the honeymoon phase will start to falter around the time we look for a new place to live this summer but that is months away.

The move to Bend has certainly helped fuel my longer writing entries, and my planner covered in Bend-related stickers is full to bursting with Bend and Central Oregon events.  The Sense of Place has always been important to me, and this Place feels right.  Having that keystone set makes an incredible difference on everything else in life.

And that, my friends, is 2012 wrapped up in three simple joys.