Calendar Girl


I’m a planner. Always have been.

I was an early adopter of the Palm Pilot because I loved being able to have my to-do lists on my computer and in my hand. Today, my iPhone talks with my iPad, which talks with my laptop.

You can see that I’m a planner just by glancing at my calendar.

Color-coding has made my weeks look like an exploded piñata. There’s a color for each family member and even my pets have their own color. You know, so I can see vet appointments at a glance. Or puppy playdates, should my pups ever get those.

A careful look reveals that I plan my wardrobe a month in advance. I can hear the questions. But what about weather changes, or mood swings? Layering, my friends. More layers if it’s cold, fewer if it’s hot. And, as for mood swings, I don’t have those until after the caffeine hits bottom. Before that, the mood is uniformly surly. And, after the caffeine, I’m already dressed in what I planned to wear that day; there’s no mood swing severe enough to warrant getting dressed all over again. It saves time in the long run.

My calendar’s “repeat” function is a thing of joy. Birthdays, anniversaries, sure. But there’s more. My friends think I’m thoughtful. They don’t know that I’ve entered their name on a repeat function once a month in my calendar to ensure that I reach out with a call or an email at least 12 times a year. It’s important that they know I’m thinking about them. It’s not that I don’t genuinely care about each of them, even without the calendar notice. It’s just that life gets away from us and, before I know it, friends have had whole marriages and divorces between our phone calls. And even if the day slides by without my reaching out to the daily assigned friend, at least I’ve thought about them and made a choice not to reach out. The effect is the same for the ignored friend on the other end of things, but I know the difference.

I can hear the free spirits out there wailing at the lost spontaneity. What about room for creativity? Random play? Meditation, even?

Not to worry. Each of those things has its own color and its own slot on the calendar. Yes, I have made an appointment with myself to “play.” I have to admit, I’m not sure what exactly that will look like. But I’m sure I can find out. It’s on my list.

Helen Mitternight is a former AP reporter and current freelancer living in downtown Charleston. She headed up public relations for the Humane Society of the...

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