I am not a winter person and especially find January bleak and uninspiring. The only thing that salvages this time of year, in my opinion, it that we can start off with a fresh calendar and/or datebook. I always enjoy browsing the huge display of calendars that they put out in the book stores starting in October and usually by this time have purchased several. I have to have a datebook to carry in my bag or purse that sets out the boys' sports schedules, important phone numbers, etc. Then I like to have one with pretty pictures to hang in the kitchen. For the bedroom and my desk, I've always loved those page-a-day ones and have gotten them with knitting, crochet, water color painting, origami, cross stitch themes and so on. And oftentimes I'd give one of the boys a calendar of their favorite sports team as a Christmas gift.
If I am remembering correctly, I came across the figure a few years back that there are more than 300 different calendar themes to choose from. By now, maybe that number is up to 500! Talk about something for everyone - birds, cooking, gardening, puzzles, flowers, cute baby animals, The Far Side, jokes, nature... When you think about it, it is kind of amazing to have that much choice and selection. But also at the same time another in-your-face reminder of how our society operates - people will buy more, if there is more to buy. Boy, don't I know that being tempted to get more than one in the past. I remember those days when I was a kid and there were only a few designs to select from. It has almost gotten out-of-hand with too much product on the shelf, no matter what section of the store you are in. I once counted the soap dispensers available at Target and it was over 30!
Anyway, it has been a tough couple years financially. I have bit the bullet and strived to use and make do with what I already have. I came across the huge calendar displays at various times over the fall and resisted my impulse to at least get one of the page-a-days with the knitting or crochet theme since those are my hobbies. But alas, while I can hold off on buying new clothes and such, a calendar is one of those items that is non-usable. It needs to be replaced every year. So I went to Barnes & Noble earlier in the week to obtain a datebook. I'd been organizing my purse and records inspired by that surge we get come Jan. 1, and determined that a datebook is not something I can survive without.
I live in a big metropolitan area and the stores around here sell out of their stock quickly. The remaining calendar selection was slim but I found one that I liked with a design of birds that was cute and it was only $4.00, half price (plus I got another member discount so all was good). I had hoped to find one of the knitting or crochet page-a-days left but there were not any. This ended up disappointing me so the next day I went to another larger book store to see if they had any. They did not.
I was surprised at how much this started to bother me. I wanted one of these calendars and regretted not getting one earlier. They feature almost daily knitting/crochet patterns and pack a lot of bang into your buck. You're basically getting 100+ patterns for just $16.00 (full cost). I was disappointed and could have lived with not having one of those calendars this year - so be it - it wasn't the year for excess spending, think ahead to next year. But then I remembered that in past years they've had those stores in the mall that solely sell calendars at this time. So I said, "What the heck," I'll make a quick run to the mall and check it out.
Along with winter, I'm not a mall person. Just don't enjoy going to them and haven't for many years. I prefer hitting the smaller strip malls or to order by catalog. I was on a mission - to see if there was a calendar store and to get in and out as soon as possible. I entered the mall through a large department store and have to say that I did gaze longingly at the cute pajamas they had on sale for 70% off. Then when I walked through the fragrance section, I did think about how nice it would be to be able to afford a new scent. But for the time being I am doing okay using what I already have. And it does ultimately end up feeling better to use what I have!
Just a short distance away from this store was the calendar store and I purchased two page-a-day ones. I got the last knitting one they had and the crochet one, of which there were several. They were half-price so I paid $16.00 for both. I figure that ends up to be about 5 cents a day for a whole lot of enjoyment throughout the year. When I put the cost factor into it, I was able to justify the purchase. Making this purchase was also more meaningful because of the savings, as well as the fact that I'd had to search for the product after making the conscious decision that it was something that I really wanted and would miss if I didn't have. In the past, I'd just pick up one of the calendars back in October - it was a taken for granted, almost mindless purchase. This time is different. I am grateful that I found the calendars and that I'll be able to enjoy them all year. And again I am struck by the reality that it is often the little things that end up meaning the most. I also recently read that "the high" we obtain from material items is very short-lived. I found that once I got out of the sleepware and frangrance departments, I didn't really have any desire for pjs or a new bottle of perfume. Out of sight, out of mind.
Part of me wrestles with whether I should have restrained myself from making this purchase. After all, it wasn't entirely necessary. The datebook was what I really needed. But then I go back to the 5 cents a day cost and tell myself that indeed, it is worth that small cost. Even in the middle of struggles, whatever they may be, there have to be ways that we can treat ourselves and nurture our souls.
Today I am grateful that:
1. The snowstorm wasn't as bad as predicted.
2. Already the worst week of the entire year (in my opinion) is over!
3. There was one knitting calendar left and I got it.
4. The boys are getting caught up with their school work.
5. I don't have to shovel myself out as I did when I was a homeowner (at least one perk to renting).