I’ve been enamored with the Desktop Perpetual Calendar from the moment I first laid eyes on it.
Here’s how it works: Each page of the calendar is designated for a day of the year. These pages are organized by tabs for each month. The year is entered in the left-hand margin before the entries. Yesterday’s page is moved to the back of the set to cycle through. After a year of use, concurrent entries begin! Previous years’ entries will share the same page. *Cue nostalgic gasps and giggles.*
This is essentially a journal in a box. I love (read: hoard) paper and all things paper. And I love a good box or container just as much as the next gal (especially if it lends itself to hiding the aforementioned hoarded goods). I love that the humble space on the page for a line (or 2, or 3) for jotting down an entry seems less daunting than the traditional journal does sometimes. I love that it could become a keepsake one day. I love that it frees me to purge records and momentos that I would normally want to hold onto in fear of forgetting things like that trip to the zoo, or how much my son weighed at his 6 month check-up, or that time we got surprise snail mail from a dear friend.
At the time that I first met the ol’ PerpCal, I had already racked up quite a bit of mommy guilt. I had failed at keeping the journal I started when I was pregnant. And I had forgotten too many times to take the monthly photo with the cute numbered sticker documenting his growth and development so I stopped. I had barely recorded any of the poignant moments that were adding together and shaping me. I was fear-stricken that these precious (albeit sleep-deprivated) years would just become a blurry surreal blip in my memory but felt undermotivated to figure out where to start.
But, you best believe, I hoarded photos on my camera, doctor check-up print-outs, greeting cards, planners, and random thoughts mixed into years of notebooks. I’d always hoped that I would find the time to catch up. Two years later, I made time to dig and recap and compile.
My husband and I are focusing entries in this calendar to things pertinent to our son and parenting. (And as we begin the journey toward adoption, we will start another!) While the Desktop Perpetual Calendar is my go-to gift for new parents, there are so many other uses!
-New Parent Journal
Document growth of height and weight, developmental milestones, all the “firsts” funny sayings, and challenges. This could become a keepsake and is a great exercise in thoughtfulness in the day-to-day. It is especially wonderful to see the change from year to year.
-Gratitude Journal https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/tips_for_keeping_a_gratitude_journal
One thing you are thankful for that day. Try to avoid just go through motions. Use time in your daily grind (while driving, while doing dishes, or while showering for instance) to be mindful of your entry for a few moments.
Record praises, confessions, thanksgiving, and requests. Also recording passages or writings or a quote that was particularly meaningful that day can serve to encourage you in the years to come.
Track your progress with any resolutions you have made. Maybe you want to spend the year placing special focus on physical health so you may make entries about choosing a healthy lunch or that you took the stairs that day. You could make entries periodically with weight or endurance updates.
-Mental Health Journal
Choose a word daily to describe how you are feeling. Complete the exercise “I feel ____because________. The truth is_____.” Record a quote that was encouraging or helpful. Record any trends or triggers your are discovering in your life. Document appointments and things your counselor has asked you to consider. Document a healthy choice you made today.
Keep it simple with entries that summarize the highlight or main focus of your day. “Yoga with Callie before work today.” “Visted Granny today; she’s feeling stronger.” “Tried the new burrito place today. Yum!” Don’t second-guess yourself about if it is important enough to record. Just do it. Your calendar will be a beautiful compilation of all the things!
-This Day In History
Just a simple internet search will give you some ideas of important events in the history of the world for that day. There’s something humbling about seeing each day as a day in the history of the world. This is the history of your world though, so don’t forget to enter dates like your grandparents’ wedding anniversary and the day your mom was born!
No matter what approach you choose, use a traditional journal to elaborate on any days you feel like it. Don’t feel too limited by the small entries but use the Perpetual Calendar as a starting place or rolodex of sorts. Consider denoting on the Perpetual Calendar page when there is a corresponding dated journal entry. This will lead you to the journal (if you happen to keep them) so you could connect them at a later date if that’s your thing. I’ve even noted on our Perpetual Calendar pages when there is a video related to my entry saved on my computer. (But as I’m typing this, I realize that probably sounds ridiculously detailed!)
- Use archival/acid free pens. There are tons of options! Look for one that also boasts waterproof and fade proof lines. I like to just keep the same pen in Berry Box so I’m not tempted to use the first one I find lying around. (I really like Pigma’s Micron 005 for this purpose. )
- Place your Perpetual Calendar in a place you’ll see it. You’re more likely to jot something down if it’s accessible and visible. An option out of direct sunlight will help with preservation, but the important part is to make it easy for yourself! (I keep mine on my computer desk.)
-Purchasing the Monthly Tabs and Pages without the Wooden Berry Box is an option if you already have a container or different storage idea.
-You can choose a set that includes all 4 colors or a set made of all the same color pages.
The goal of the Perpetual Calendar, or really journaling of any kind, shouldn’t be to create an exhaustive record of your existence but to increase your joy, reflect on change, and encourage an overall disciplined rhythm for life. Even the smallest, daily entries add up and will prove to be a worthwhile investment of your energy.
Start right now. Who says the years have to be in order? Add memories as they surface but don’t get paralyzed by wanting to catch up. Don’t feel guilty about skipping days. Just start again. If you want, carve out time for a retreat for yourself so you can spend time compiling details and use the time to be intentional about reflecting.
:: Jaylyn, Inventory + Production Manager ::
How do you plan to use your Perpetual Calendar? Comment below to share your ideas with us!
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