I have a bullet journal that I no longer use.
I used to use it religiously. Every Sunday I’d sit down and make my calendar for the week, jotting down goals and daily tasks and appointments. It was soothing, organizing the minutiae of my life, page by tangible page. I could look back through the weeks and see what I’d accomplished, what I still wanted to do. I felt control over things that had felt overwhelming before. At the time, it was good for me.
Recently, I showed it to Adam and explained how it worked, how it had eased my anxiety and organized my life. I showed him the hockey games I’d attended, the writing goals I’d set and met, the online Diablo dates and flights to Missoula. I showed him where it began to taper off, the to do lists growing intermittent, black pen replacing the carefully placed washi tape and perfectly spaced lettering to mark each new day on the page.
And then I stopped altogether, not halfway through the journal.
“I guess I just got lazy,” I said, feeling self-consciously like my abandonment of the bullet journal might reflect negatively on me, like I’d been irresponsible. Like I’d shirked my duties as a good, professional, organized thirty-something.
“Maybe it means you didn’t need it anymore,” said Adam, overturning my self-critical perception in a few easy words (as per usual). Maybe, he continued, I stopped using the journal because I didn’t need that control anymore. Maybe I stopped because I was too busy living.
He was, of course, right. There are probably many reasons why I stopped using the bullet journal, and maybe one of them is laziness. But before, I’d felt I needed the bujo. That my life would spiral out of control without it, that I’d never stay on top of anything if it wasn’t written down in neat little bullets every day. And then I wrote a book, and fell back in love with my city, and practiced positive self-talk, and began journaling — truly journaling, writing down the little things in life that made me happy and the things I was proud of and the things I liked to do — and I forgot about the bullet journal.
In the many months since the bujo’s abandonment, I’ve been happier than any other time in my adult life. I’m not writing as much since I finished my book, and I’m not reading as much, but I’m going outside more. I’m experiencing the city. And I’m excited to do things! It used to be so hard to get me to leave the house, but I love planning activities for the weekend now. I feel like I’m living my life in a different way than I have in a long time. I’m kinder to myself and others, I’m open to more things, and I’m taking things day by day as much as I can. I fucking love it.
It also helps that I’m in love. But that’s a subject for another post.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that I don’t write here anymore. I think this blog may have gone the way of the bujo — I don’t need it as much as I did. I don’t need to work out these conflicting thoughts on the page. I don’t need to vent my troubles here anymore, because I’m not alone with them anymore.
So farewell to the bujo. It served me well when I needed it. And now, instead of embarrassment at neglecting my organizational tool, I feel grateful. It was right for me at the time, and now I’m living the way that’s right for me now.