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Organize this

My beloved Filofax

My attachment to my Filofax probably borders on the extreme. And in a world dominated by smart phones and Google calendar, woefully old fashioned as well. But I can’t help it. My pink Filofax has helped me organize my occasionally chaotic life and my constantly chaotic brain. It is my calendar, and it enables my list-making habit. I’d probably feel lost without it. A few times, certain friends of mine have jokingly threatened to steal it and hide it from me. I didn’t find it funny.

Maybe I am old fashioned. But I cling to this ordered, logical point in a messy world. You see, I am not the neatest person. I don’t always make my bed in the morning. My living room is strewn with books, headphones, pens and tubes of lip balm. But sometimes it feels ok to be messy at home as long as I emerge from the mess looking neat and organized. I can leave clean clothes jumbled in the laundry bin because I have my day neatly planned. It’s a balancing act.

But then I have to wonder: Does this balance actually work?

Oftentimes, appearance is everything. If I’m feeling down, dressing up a bit helps improve my mood. I look good, so I feel good. Same with my Filofax – parts of my life are organized, so it feels like everything is organized. Other times, however, my Filofax is like a plank of wood bobbing in a sea of commitments and deadlines. No matter how organized I am on paper, I feel like I’m floundering. But I still cling with all my might.

Though my need for pen and paper is old fashioned, it seems I’m not alone in my desire for proof of an organized life. I know people who go on cleaning sprees when they’re upset, certain that by organizing their apartment, they will organize, and therefore fix, whatever might be wrong. Women’s magazines have presented hundreds of tips on how to be more productive at work, plan the perfect dinner party, fix that broken heel. There is even a website now, StickK.com, where people can post their new year’s resolutions – the idea being that if other people are watching, those resolutions are more likely to stick. Virtual proof, if you will.

But proof doesn’t always mean that you are, indeed, neat and organized. It just makes it seem that way. I have a knack for talking a mile a minute, going two places at once, but I’m neat on paper. And in the end, at least to me, that’s what counts.

Maybe it’s a comfort thing. I do feel better when I make the extra effort to make the bed or organize my bookshelves, even though I know it won’t last. But for that moment, it’s enough. And you can pry my Filofax from my cold, dead fingers.

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