Searching for the Perfect Notebook

Finding meaning in the hunt for the office supplies.

I love office supplies.

I love the promise of organization, goal setting, and a meaningful life all wrapped in items that are so ordinary and obtainable.

A new pen will push me to finally write that novel. A new notebook will get my to-do list in shape, and I will get everything done. A pack of post-it notes will organize my entire life.

Though my desk is teaming with stacks of notebooks many of which are unused, I ordered a new notebook yesterday. It looked perfect. It is red, dot grid, leather bound. Based on its description on Amazon, it looks ideal. I put it in my cart even though it was an unnecessary expense.

I spent days moving it in and out of my cart. Save for later. Treat myself. I couldn’t decide.

But yesterday, I finally clicked buy and sat back to revel in my buyer’s remorse with $20 less to my name.

There is no resale value for a notebook. It is an expense. The money is gone.

I open it up and look at the promise of the blank page.

The stories I will write, the goals I will achieve, the life I will document. The blank page holds all these things.

I sit, terrorized of ruining that promise. Fearful that this new notebook will not solve my problems for me. It will not help me focus. It will not change who I am.

As long as it remains untouched, the promise remains.

I set it aside, but it stares back at me.

I watch videos of people on Instagram creating beautiful spreads in their bullet journals. The coordinating colors and unifying themes for the month.

I watch as they pull out pastels, dried flowers, and water colors that somehow make their daily schedules look more beautiful and meaningful.

But who has that kind of time? I ask myself as I watch these videos, fully aware of the irony.

I look at my notebooks and wonder if I would achieve more if my words were surrounded by adorable doodles or simply well-organized.

I pick up my old notebook. It has traveled with me through the last year. It was once shiny and new and meant to be filled with good intentions.

It has watch this rough year unfold.

It has been filled with to-do lists that have gone undone, been rewritten, and still linger.

Its binding is broken so that it lays flat, though it was never intended to do that. The broken binding has become my favorite feature.

For me, it’s never been about the notebook. It’s about all the hope that lies within it.

I will keep buying these little luxuries and symbols of hope and promise…

…and hopefully use a few along the way.

Writer, mother, math nerd, and occasional runner.

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