Today my fall planner pages arrived in the mail. Though some of you are happily and completely electronic with your calendar apps and programs, I rely on the crisp feel of paper to note my activities, to-do lists, projects, goals and contacts. Each fall, since the closure of Somerset's Franklin Covey Store, I go on-line and order a set, selecting the pattern and design that reflects my current personality. And when that package arrives, I pull out the ruler, colored pens, and last year's notes and begin to apply birthdays and already scheduled events to the pages.
I like to plan, yes. And I like to plan in the Fall because to me it reflects a new beginning.
Some people set resolutions in January. Me, I set goals in the Fall. I begin at the end of that last vacation day when school resumes. And I renew my intentions, goals and hopes for the year.
Life is full of the unexpected. Losses. Changes. Achievements. Surprises -- good and bad -- occur everyday. Just when we feel on top of everything, we slide to the bottom and wonder what happened to send us there.
In no way can my Planner pages predict or prepare me for those unexpected moments of sadness or despair. Nor can they prepare me for the unanticipated joys that may greet me around the corner. But one thing I've learned, with a Blue Uniball pen, a super sharp #2 pencil, and my planner pages, I am better prepared to greet and manage those things that fly in my general direction.
Fall, more than any other time of the year, reflects change ... Not for the worse, not for the better. No, just ... differences. The leaves transform to lovely shades of amber, red and purple and begin their eventual dance to crisp piles on the ground. These "dead leaves" provide hours of enjoyment for young children to rake and jump into. Don't know about you, but my kids love that as much as I do ... er, did.
The dead things bring laughter and the dark brown trees stretch empty arms to an azure-grey sky, awaiting sleep and eventual rebirth. Awaiting change.
Many fear change and dread the end of Summer and arrival of Fall. I'll admit, that change doesn't always thrill me. That though I truly revel in and enjoy spontaneity, I also like to settle in to the comfort the special people in my life and favorite activities give me. When changes occur and someone or something is lost, I'm unsettled. And sad. A little lost too.
But as Flavia said, "Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Others stay, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." But nowhere does it indicate those special people stay forever ... And, nowhere does it say that they don't ever come back when they venture into new directions. Life is unpredictable. Don't put a stop-sign on your path and declare an ending. Life ebbs and flows richly. What comes next is anyone's guess. Be open, if you can.
Change. It's scary. It's like standing before a door and not knowing if opening it is the best idea. Change in its very nature cannot be predicted or outplanned.
It's like Fall ... colors will transform, leaves will tumble, trees will go dormant and cold weather and snow will come next. You can dread it or enjoy the moments as you mark the days on your planner. Spring returns eventually and then Summer graces us with flora, fauna and sunshine.
But for now, Fall. Change. And, perhaps, Hope that the people and things that so lovingly touch -- or touched -- our lives always know they will be remembered, treasured, and welcomed back when the wind changes. Just because they are out of sight, does not mean they will ever be out of mind. Their fingerprints remain on our very soul.
Yes, I think about all that as I look at my lovely new Flavia planner pages. No flashing curser for me. No app or program as I look ahead to what comes next. But as I set goals and hopes for the year ahead, I honor myself and ready myself for whatever comes my way next ... planned or unplanned ....