I realized tonight, while hunting for a pen, that somewhere in the dusk of recent memory, I’d replaced my journals with planners. I’d had every intention of making a tidy square in tomorrow’s box that I could check off as soon as I bathed Maeby. But my epiphany gave me pause. I stopped. I took a mental inventory: on the wanting scale, how badly did I want to bathe Maeby, or rather, how badly did I want to write in my planner that I needed to bathe Maeby?

The answer is, I wanted it as badly as I wanted the Life Cereal I’m currently finishing. Which is to say, I wanted it pretty badly, because I’ve cut processed foods from my diet this week, and it’s getting to be the end of the week. I wanted, existentially, to add something to my list so I could have the self-congratulatory pleasure of checking off a box.

It’s a little grotesque how and why I do it. I don’t cross things off my list–I could never. It diminishes the achievement. I put x’s through squares instead because I want to see my shining page of productivity before me, like a shimmering banner comprised of report cards and merit badges and “I told you so’s.”

But I’ve been chasing that high a little too long, I think. Because when I flip through the pages of 2019, I don’t see a lot. I see chores. I see minutiae. I don’t see accomplishments.

Honestly, it makes me a little sad. I used to journal prolifically, cataloguing every detail of my plans, and my goals, and my experiences. I used to journal like my life really meant something. I wonder if I stopped because I stopped believing in that. Or I wonder if because I stopped believing in that, I had less and less to say. Somewhere along the way, my life became a very predictable square. Straight course straight course straight course! Predictable turn. Straight course straight course strait course, predictable turn, until, yeah, I’ve rotated four times, but I still find myself right back where I started.

So admittedly, this epiphany all sounds a bit paltry given that I just ran my first half-marathon, something I am proud of. I like running, but it doesn’t make me tick. It just makes me strong. Strong enough to dust off my journal, and hope again, that I’ll find my story and not just my list.

I’m starting over tonight, but I’m turning left where I’m meant to turn right. I don’t want to be a square.