On my fourteenth birthday my best friend gave me a notebook. It was a hardback, spiral-bound book with relatively few thick, shiny lined pages. It wasn’t really my taste - it was burgundy and the 19th century reproduction on the front was a bit twee. But it was clearly an object I should value, a present from someone far cooler, inexplicably for me. I felt the quality of each page between my fingers - it wouldn’t be enough to sully it with homework lists or phone numbers or heaven forbid a diary. It deserved to be used only when I was fully formed, not still crashing and burning my way through school. Not yet, then.
I kept that notebook, unused, for the next sixteen years. It came with me to university, to London while I worked at my first job, and then to Italy and Switzerland and back to London in rotation. In the meantime I learned a new language, changed careers a few times and got married. It still sat empty on my bookshelf and made my stomach sink a little when I caught sight of it. Not quite there yet, are we?, it said.
I am full of admiration for people who get tattoos and literally wear their decisions, a record of their very selves, on their inked sleeves. I always had drawers full of stickers, for God’s sake, that I could never quite decide to use until they would end up dried out and grimy. I can still remember some of those multicoloured original Apple ones hanging out in my desk drawer, never used. Does everyone hang on to bits and pieces like this, imbued with regret and guilt and not-quite-enough-maybe-one-day?
There was a day though when I put that fucking notebook in the trash, a day in the middle of divorce, heart-in-mouth, waking up from the coma of my twenties. I took it down from the shelf and consigned it to my past. Not yet became right now. And that’s been my new year’s resolution ever since. To wear the fancy underwear everyday. To write my name in permanent marker wherever I please. To use the stickers – you should see the cover of my MacBook.
Happy new year folks! Make it a good one.