And in between what might have been
and what has come to pass
A misbegotten guess, alas,
and bits of broken glass
— the prophet taylor
Today is the day.
For most people, Jan. 1 is the time for new beginnings. For me, it’s whatever Monday the new yearly journal begins with. And that day is today. I might have mentioned that already.
I have been keeping a yearly running log since the days of the Jim Fixx journals back in the dark ages. It’s a ritual I can’t imagine going without. Each day, I write down my miles and time. Over the years, it’s become more complicated, with Vo2 max and effort levels and pygmy goat estimates, but the idea is the same. Painstakingly write down a bunch of numbers I’ll never look at again.
Maybe it’s a Dorian Gray thing. As long as I have these 365 days staring ahead of me, I can’t die.
In 2004, I made the switch to adulthood and got a Day-timer, which is basically a running log without motivational quotes. Instead, I got pages for my “expense account” and a “planning calendar” and a section for “birthdays and anniversaries.” As if I actually did anything or knew anyone. I would use those pages to doodle, while maniacally recording the daily runs. Garmin and Strava came along, providing an online log and making the whole process pointless. And yet, I persisted.
A couple of years ago, the Day-timer disappeared. They apparently were not able to build a successful business model based on selling me one attache planner a year, and did away with the model. I was screwed.
Many trips to many stores later, I finally found an acceptable replacement, a Moleskine Weekly Notebook. It has everything I could possibly want. Namely, a calendar. One that starts on Monday and ends on Sunday, the way the Old Testament meant things to be. It’s the same size as the old Day-Timer, so they stack up just fine. Still black, simple. Just right.
It wants me to be a hipster.
In the front of the book, between the yearly calendar and the weekly calendar, there is A Bunch of Stuff.
Global Holidays. Moleskine assures me that it cares about precision and checks all dates carefully. But Moleskine doesn’t realize we’re locked down for the next decade or so, and not particularly interested in what day Papua New Guinea celebrates the new year. This is followed by two pages of time zones. See previous point about travel.
The next pages offer measures and conversions, since there might not be an internet connection in Papua New Guinea, and then a page for shirt sizes in various countries. If you’re interested, a 14 1/2 shirt in the U.S. is the equivalent of a 14 1/2 shirt in Great Britain. I assume this pertains to button-up shirts, which I have not worn since the Great COVID Lockdown of 2020.
You need the dialing codes for Afghanistan? That would be 53. Papua New Guinea is 675, although why would you ever call Papua New Guinea?
And then, the intimidating part. A blank page labeled simply “travel planning.” Ummmm, did I mention the COVID thing? Followed by a page for “My extraordinary moments this year.” And then, “My inspiring journeys.” They suggest using their enclosed stickers to help decorate this page. I hope there are cookie stickers, since my inspiring journeys are mostly to the kitchen to steal from Mo’s Secret Graham Cracker Stash.
And then, mercifully, it finally arrives at the weekly calendars, where I enter my runs each day and ponder my inspiring journey to Afghanistan by way of Great Britain to pick up a size 14 1/2 shirt that one could not obtain in the US of A. I should probably save a sticker to put on the shirt.
It’s a fine running log, soft and friendly like a new puppy, and it has left no puddles I’m aware of.
I’m on my third one now and I’m happy, despite my dearth of inspiring journeys and button-up shirts.
It is a really, really nice notebook, just right for a young hipster trapped in the body of an old runner.
And as I look at it, the blank pages staring back at my hopefully, waiting for my extraordinary moments to commence, I realize.
It really IS too nice to write in.
Where’s Jim Fixx when you need him?
I should write that down somewhere.