I’ve been keeping a “book” since 2011. It started out as a few lines a day in a weekly planner; small and doable, initially prompted by Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project but inspired by my Dad and my great aunt who’ve kept books for years. My Dad makes quick notes about the weather and who he speaks to and tasks he accomplishes. If something noteworthy happens, he adds that too. Aunt Dot started keeping a 5 Year Diary in 1970 or so and added a few lines every day for decades; notable births and deaths and happenings are sure to be there, as well as notable letters or calls.
My books are about my day, what I did and how I felt. If something notable happened in the world or around me and it got my attention, I’ll add that too. The first year, there was room for only a few lines but I moved to a daily planner the next year and gave myself room to say more. I don’t go back often unless there’s something I’m looking for it when I do, even flipping through the book brings back memories. My 2012 book fell open a few minutes ago and as soon as I saw writing squeezed into every margin I knew it was from the day I had thyroid surgery in June.
So here we are on February 29, Leap Day, and I wondered how I spent February 29 four years ago and suddenly realized I could check. And then go back another four years. And four years before that, while not captured in any book of mine, is memorable too.
February 29, 2016 - It was a Monday. Work was busy. I was watching for signs of my period and had my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t come. I went to the dentist to have my new bite plane fitted, did groceries, cooked a new recipe, chatted with a friend and went to bed at a decent hour. The page was half full and printed quickly, neatly. Smiley face at the top of the page.
February 29, 2012 - It was a Wednesday. It was a pretty good day but there’s lots about cold symptoms and a nosebleed. Book group met at my place and there was lots to eat. It looks like I put out a lot of food. My friend Marjorie [then 86, now 94] brought tulips. Someone else brought muffins. I wrote about how much I liked the women in my book group (still do) but made no mention of the book itself. A few minor frets about work and a note about “thyroid business” [I’d had a needle biopsy the day before]. I wrote in my book at 11:30 p.m. Every line of the page was full of quick cursive in a slightly turquoise pen; not the same pen as the day before nor the day after. Leap Day! at the top of the page.
February 29, 2008 - There’s no book for this day but I know it was the day of my grandfather’s funeral. I introduced my Dad to Dave for the first time and later, as our whole family queued up to go into the main room, my aunt asked, “Who’s this guy?!” when Dave stepped into line beside me.