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To the Notebook and Journal Collectors

What is it about that first page of a new notebook? If you know, you know.

Are you a notebook connoisseur? A journal collector or afficionado? I’m sure there are more than a few of you out there.

Some of us use them for work, or for journaling, or let’s be honest…at times we throw them in a drawer or on top of table with the intent of using it at some point in time that may or may not come to fruition. It is way too incredibly difficult to resist the urge to buy a well-made or beautiful notebook. The realm of possibilities swirl like a conjuring of spirits in the middle of a store aisle. And we fall victim—yet again.

But today…today I had the thrill of switching to a new notebook due to using up the last one. And not just any notebook either; this one was crafted by a well-known company known for its quality. One which I had found in the bargain bin. (I know…did they even realize what they had put in there?)

But I digress.

Using the first page of a new notebook. Cognizant or not, you take more time with your handwriting on the first page. Page 52 may be kin to chicken scratch or written in such a scrawl as to only be decipherable to you alone, but not the first page.

You flatten the pages, and even if it is of the lay-flat variety, the first page is never quite perfectly flat. Oh well, that will not ruin the moment. You may run your finger along the side, flipping the pages quickly. If the edges are coated in gold, silver, or other coloring, a few pages here and there stick together at the corners and you attempt to quickly unstick a few of them.

Back to that first page. You look for that pen that writes just so. Not the one that is prone to leaving clumps of ink or is too hard to get the ink flowing. That one…now you’re ready.

A simple analogy would be the first day of school in any elementary grade. But that is not the comparison I am aiming for.

Life offers us things we eagerly tackle and things which we delay, dither, ignore, or find any reasonable or not so reasonable excuse to hide from.

Clearly the notebook is an example of things we eagerly tackle. We, against all odds, have found the opportunity to start a new chapter…literally. The handwriting has to be just so, the content has to be right, even the pen has to be our favorite pen. In our fervor of whipped-up notebook glory, we overlook the fact that the first page does not lie perfectly flat or that the pages stick together. It simply does not matter; we are in the moment.

But no, actually the notebook is also clearly an example of things we shrink from. Starting anew. Lack of an owner’s manual. No clearly thought-out plan for all this blankness ahead. Even the freaking pages can’t get it together and stay in their lane, they have to impose on others. The anxiety of too many decisions and how to fill so many pages. Feeling failure when your plans fall apart.

All those undesirables and yet, the notebook has not morphed or evolved. It has not defied the laws of physics and changed forms.

The only difference—and I mean the only difference—is our perception.

The good in all its glory is still there as is all the intimidating not-so-good.

How will you see that notebook?

Perhaps I was wrong. Maybe it can change its molecular composition.

Maybe, just maybe, the notebook is a mirror.

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