Some people are grand, gilded Encyclopaedias, wise in their contents, standing proud upon their solo lectern ready to present to the world, the words pouring over their subjects like a river of gold waiting to be embellished into a diamond ring more beautiful than any seen in shop windows nearby. Others are scrapbooks, scrawny and unkempt in appearance, yet bursting from the seams with ideas and creativity, an explosion of thoughts desperately saved onto empty pages, nurturing the delicate bud of inspiration with the love and dedication it deserves, ready to grow it into the brightest bloom of colour and smell, arousing every sense in its fulfilled purpose.
I am neither of these. I am a Filofax; a clean and precise diary. Organised and accurate, well kept and treasured, and, no matter how artsy and free spirited it tries to present itself, ultimately it comes down to one planned day after another, written neatly within the lines and kept tidy and neat, systematic thoughts constructed in a linear, seamless thread.
“I used to supply Filofaxes to the mafia. I was involved in very organised crime.” – Milton Jones
In the real world, this regrettably means I am somewhat of a control freak. I cannot do spontaneity. I cannot go with ‘let’s see what happens’. I have to have a plan, and am often yet happily the one making the plans out of my friends, in a vague and hopeful attempt to try and secure a decent night out with them all. I like to know what’s going on, and be prepared for any eventuality, if in the least it gives me enough time to plan what shoes to wear.
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.” – Oscar Wilde
I am also a slave to time. Uncontrollable and irreversible, time seems to fulfil both sides of the eternal conquest between the unstoppable force and the immovable object. My biggest stresses in life seem to come from the feeling of running out of time, watching the last grains of sand make their way through the hourglass of existence, whether that transpires to rushing for a train, having a deadline on a piece of work, or merely knowing how much stuff I want to blog about but never finding a moment to sit down and do it. Time is a thing I can’t grasp, I can’t maintain, I can’t control – and that means, when I’m overdue and trying to catch up, there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.
This does also make me more susceptible to the rejection of having plans cancelled. By having some form of control over what my diary holds gives me a sense of security and balance, which is offset all too quickly by a last minute text, declaring all too late “sorry, do you mind if we reschedule?” It’s rarely a personal thing – unless you’re one of those people whose planning capabilities consist of an “I’ll let you know”, with the expectation of me scheduling my imaginary plans around your indecisiveness. It is, quite simply, my biggest pet hate. I totally understand the plethora of reasons that cause plans to be adjusted and edited, but just like the messy scrawls and scribblings out that are then left to fill my cream, natural paper pages, it leaves me in a flustered and unsettled state, the sudden arrival of an empty evening feeling far too hollow compared to the busy thoughts occupying my mind.
“We are time’s subjects, and time bids be gone.” – William Shakespeare
Perhaps this also comes from my desire to be active and involved in life. I was always the one who finished school, returned to my laptop and spent my evening on social media, being ironically as unsocial as it gets and finding any excuse to avoid the complexities of the real world. Only since finishing school did I succumb to my desire of living a varied and fulfilling life, whether that be seeing films that wouldn’t normally appeal, entering in a go kart race with my best friends, or making my all too regular visit to Pizza Express, which, regardless of its powerful position as the only accessible restaurant in my Sussex town, is as cheap as their spiced Polenta Chips (which ironically isn’t very cheap at all, much to my fellow diners disgust when 6 single chips arrived at our table for the bargain price if £3.50. The moral, however, stays the same.)
I totally appreciate that some people don’t have this same level of enthusiasm for going out, with my youthful social recluse favouring their comforting and safe way of procrastinating their time. In my current stage of life, I am lucky enough to be in a position where my spending spreadsheets allow for disposable income, my diary is full yet still shows no sign of any major commitments, and I can quite easily enjoy my evenings out and about, finding new things to eternalise within those blank pages – which is perhaps why I never get around to doing those blog posts.
So say what you want – I have absolutely no shame of my neat and tidy diary plans, my desire to be busy and well booked, my love of being clued up and in control of what the evening may lay ahead. Perhaps in times to come I’ll find the missing link who can lead me blindly into the future, welcoming the spontaneity of living and carefree nature of my whirlwind life. But, until then, I’ll quite happily leave a place in my heart for those “let me check my diary” moments…