I bought into the whole “new year, new me” thing from a very early age. Growing up, I remember being delighted that I got to have two New Years — one Jewish, one secular — thus, two chances to improve myself when all my friends only got one. (I also remember a few angsty years where I was FURIOUS that “everyone else” got to celebrate the new year by going to fun parties on December 31st and I had to sit in services for hours while my friends got quality gossip time at school. Oh, to be 14 again.)
My resolution, for as long as I can remember, for both of my new years, was always the same: get organized. And the only way to do that was to buy stationery.
Yes, I’m talking about the classic Rosh Hashanah tradition of buying a new notebook/planner/organization system, using it for one day and then abandoning it for years until digging it out of a dusty storage container and thinking sadly to your past self, “You really thought this was the one, didn’t you.”
I may not have been paying very close attention in Sunday school. There’s a chance I heard “book of life” and thought it was a type of planner.
Be that as it may, I’ve been chasing that new notebook high for a long, long time. Eventually I didn’t need a new year to try to reorganize my life — a new month, a new week, a new project served as the perfect time for a fresh start.
While I understand the finer points of the Jewish new year these days, I still believe in the power of a new notebook — and the overwhelming urge to overhaul my life still creeps up every fall. But I’ve noticed lately that I’m less likely to buy whatever shiny new notebook is on a Target endcap or an influencer’s Instagram. And, in the past few months two people have called me organized, which I think is the compliment Mark Twain was referring to when he (allegedly) said “I can live for two months on a good compliment” or “a good compliment can last me two months,” depending on which Pinterest graphic you believe.
Is this because I’ve gotten to the point where I realize that a new notebook can’t fix me? Maybe. I’d like to think, though, it’s that I’ve found what works for me.