We have a chance to rethink time

BY MIMI BECKER

Community columnist

We have officially arrived at spring. The calendar date snuck up on me. At this point, I should be out in the yard ready to tackle the mess left behind by winter and anxiously preparing for the projects always on the “to do” list.

As I sit in my office, I am doing exactly what I normally do at this time of year. The projects and timelines and deadlines are all neatly lined out on the calendar for the months coming up. Several new and exciting opportunities are planned with new creative partners. Some traditional activities are perking along.

At home, plans for much discussed and debated home renovation projects are being nailed down. The search is on for a vacation spot and a time which will accommodate most of the family’s schedule.

It all seems so normal. And yet, there is this fuzzy feeling in my brain.

The phrase, “I don’t know where the time went’” has new meaning. A quarter of this year is gone already.  Three quarters of last year are gone and I have no idea where they went. I was scrolling through my cell phone photo gallery searching for a particular picture I was absolutely certain I had taken over the holidays. I remember a photo of Christmas carolers.

Well, I did take it. The photo was dated December 2019. There are no 2020 Christmas photos.

Along about October, I quit trying to figure stuff out. Each day led to the next day; sort of the reverse of the 1969 film, If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium. If I have had two days off, it must be Monday. If it is Monday, I go to work. Tuesday does follow Monday.

In past days, we learned that in kindergarten. After Tuesday is my writing deadline. The next day after that is radio spot day. On radio day, I put out the garbage cans because the next day is garbage day. After garbage day, there are two days off. After two days off…

My system worked because we never went anywhere anyway.

The snow and ice, and the holidays, did cause an issue with the garbage collection part of the plan. During those weeks, I stood in the front yard, gazing up and down the street periodically to see if there was a hint from any of the more cognizant neighbors as to what to do with the trash and recycling containers.  Eventually, the neighbors put out cans. I followed suit. Back on track with the system.

My office is in a building with a community conference room.  Meetings are entered by all the group members into the electronic calendar so we are all aware of space usage. The calendar is extra significant to me because I don’t want to bound through the door into a professional gathering which is none of my business.

I plan my office use around the community calendar. I haven’t looked at that calendar in a year. I didn’t give it a second thought. For an entire year, not one single item on the calendar actually occurred in that room.  There is an awful lot of zooming around and I for one, will be thrilled to work around human beings in this space. 

I normally keep my old-fashioned paper calendar with me at all times. I am so excited to have things written on it, finally. A blank date on my calendar makes me feel nervous. Surely, I have forgotten something of importance. My obsession with the calendar is probably not healthy. For an entire year, I have written very inconsequential things on my calendar just to make me feel connected. 

When all of this is over, and it will be, there will be new meaning to time.

It will be comforting to know there are places to go and people to see and all that will be written on my calendar. It will be so much more fun and satisfying to live my life in a real world of real dates and not by a goofy system.

A look at my calendar to plan my work or an event around my granddaughter’s horse show will be a very good thing. It will be even better when I need to organize a few days free so we can schedule her visit with us to go to camp.

Over the course of the past year, there have been conflicts due mostly to meetings and events canceled and rescheduled and canceled and rescheduled. It was frustrating, but unavoidable. Participants understood as we are all in the same position. We have missed so much, we want to get back to our regular routine.

For the first time in a year, I consulted my calendar to reschedule a project and found a significant family appointment was on the same day. For the first time in a year, I had to make a decision. I didn’t like it.

We have lost so much. I want it back, but not necessarily back to the way it was before. We had lost an awful lot before, we just didn’t think about it enough.