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  • Dorian Winter

on calendar dates gone by

i. The Physical Calendar

I have a lot of difficulty throwing calendars away. By virtue of my partner's observation, I became aware of the mausoleum of folded, numbered paper suffocating in my cupboard. There was something a little terrifying about knowing that the last few years of my life, those expectations (and those realities) were all handwritten onto sheets of glossy paper. I wonder if this tells you about my relationship with keeping diaries, too.

I did open up the old calendars eventually. But there is something about acknowledging time, acknowledging that the seat that you routinely use has turned into drowsy, overworked fabric. Something about hearing the song you accidentally put on shuffle a year ago and remembering that happy accident. I feel like I'm peering into the notebooks of a past self, and that standing in the present, I have become a time-traveling voyeur.

I discarded my 2022 and 2023 calendars yesterday, but don't think I have discarded those years yet.


ii. The Virtual Calendar

There’s a bit of debate around whether design can be entirely human. However, blankly staring at my Google Calendar (what a sight), I’m reminded of something (a memory!) and it creates that sudden, staccato thump (rest; thump again) of the heart, that feeling that I can’t explain logically. You see, the dates and hours that have passed (in the calendar) start to fade back into that stark white background, in the same way my memories fade into the marble crevices of my brain matter.

Maybe that is how it looks, those neurons traced by imagined fingertips, those paths forwards and backward through valleys of spinal fluid and tensed muscle. I’m reminded of ‘The Body Keeps the Score’. Somewhere, probably in the temporal lobe, I know how long I sat at lunch on the 11th Feb, 2020. Somewhere, I know what time I’m meant to be at a meeting, and I know how the beads of sweat accessorized my fingertips.


iii. The Diary

Around this time last year, I was obsessively scrolling through stationery stores and convincing myself that planning out my life, down to a sticker and a paperclip, should be my penultimate goal. In this inner dialogue, I also thought about the potential shortcomings of a diary. Embarrassingly, I was worried that I would “guess wrong”. That I would show a spark of hope for a future event, or early-onset regret, and it wouldn’t come to fruition. The diary was my enemy, simply because I was scared of being wrong about the future (something that was far scarier not making any guesses at all).

For this same reason, I can’t bring myself to invest in new-age manifestation, living in the future, or any concepts like it. Because, once again, what if you’re wrong? What if you can’t actually play God, and plan things out down to the last discarded crumb, and be right about everything all the time?

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