This Must Be the Place

Up until recently, one of my favorite things to do was to pick out an array of calendars for the upcoming year - and I couldn’t just pick out any calendar. I had very strict rules about this. For home, I like a good page a day. For the office, I prefer one of those monthly calendars that sit on your desk and you flip a card over each month. (One year, my sister got me one of these with illustrations of famous historical women’s desks and it sat right at the nexus of all my interests. They don’t make them anymore, I checked.) And, of course, I have my planner. I have very strict rules about this too - I need a monthly layout, plus individual pages where I can write what I need to work on each day. As someone who is admittedly very stupid about technology, my planners and various analog ways of keeping track of time help me keep my head on straight. I went through a period where I wouldn’t even consider leaving my house without my planner, even to like, go to a bar or something.

One of my favorite things - even when I was younger - was to flip the page to a new month on my calendar or in my planner. I sometimes wouldn’t even look too closely at the illustration each month had because I wanted to be surprised and excited by the novelty of something new. A new month felt like it could contain exciting possibilities - things to look forward to, things I didn’t even know about yet.

And now, well, it’s hard to imagine looking forward to anything anymore. I haven’t ripped a page of off my page a day calendar in three weeks. Flipping the page on my calendars is an afterthought. I look at my planner now and then but not with nearly the same gusto as I used to. Since my mom passed away, it feels more like I wake up and take my body where it needs to be. I do what I have to do to get through the day, but nothing - not even the things I like - really bring me joy the way they did before.

There were times in my life before where it felt like I was where I was supposed to be, when I was supposed to be there. (I used to listen to “This Must Be the Place” by the Talking Heads a lot.) Without my mom here, it’s hard to imagine feeling that way ever again - or even really looking forward to things. I make plans, but they feel half-hearted. I keep myself busy though, because I have to, because I’m scared of how I’ll feel if I’m not. (Somewhat relatedly, this speaks to my years-long pattern of overworking myself, getting sick, and then forcing myself to slow down before eventually overworking myself once again. I am currently on part two of that cycle.)

I guess at some point things will change. I’ll start to look forward to stuff again. But part of me doesn’t want that to happen, either. Because the more time that passes, or the better I feel, that means it’s more time since my mom has been gone. More time without her.

(Also - if my knitting looks better than it did a few weeks ago, it’s because my grandma sat with me and fixed it.)

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