Calendars: I have a lot of them. There’s one on the desk in my apartment bedroom, at least one in my backpack, and a Google one floating somewhere in the Interwebs. Maybe it’s my anxiety – or maybe it’s just my personality – but I love planning things down to the smallest possible detail. The more I know about my days ahead of time, the more I feel at ease.
A New Year’s tradition of mine entails purchasing a planner to use for the next 365 days. This evening, I ventured to Target and chose a black weekly/monthly planner with “2017” embossed across the front cover in gold. I went home and immediately began filling in all the important dates – dentist appointments, days off school, Commencement Weekend – and then I stopped. Save for the birthdays of family members and a few close friends, there was nothing to write after Commencement.
Side-by-side comparison of my 2016 and new 2017 planners
I realized that, for the entirety of my planner obsession up to that point, I’d always known what I would be doing the following year. Even as a senior in high school, I learned of my admittance to Miami in late December and was thus able to anticipate the general structure of fall semester 2013.
I have no idea exactly where I’ll be and when between mid-May and the month of December 2017. More than likely, I’ll be going to graduate school, but where? What will I be doing? How will my days look? I realize how the birthdays I include have changed over the years as new friendships have developed and old ones have faded. Who will come to know and spend time with during those months?
The uncertainty is terrifying, but also refreshing. While 2016 came with more dates to mark on my calendars, it was about as unpredictable as a year could be. It’s astonishing to reflect on the amount of personal growth that came with this year and all of the good things that came on an individual level. It’s also deeply saddening to remember the devastation this year brought on a larger scale. Still, I’m ready to take on next year with vigor, grace, and resilience gathered throughout the past 366 days (it was a leap year, so if this year felt extra long, you’re not wrong). My calendar will be less empty in due time.
I’m excited to meet you, 2017.