Back to the Future: My Life in 2 Calendars

Today is Monday, November 9th, 2009. I’m at my kitchen table in Boulder (not having sex with it at the moment), staring at an acorn squash (procured from the Farmer’s Market) that was supposed to be cooked for an autumnal meal, then became an autumnal centerpiece, and now is its last dying breath away from the autumnal compost heap. I look at my calendar to remind myself what I’m supposed to be doing today. Then, curiously nostalgic and also eager to procrastinate, I zoom back through Google Calendar to November 9th, 2007, when I lived in New York, plumbing the entries for clues about my life Then vs. Now:

November 9th, 2007:
1-1:45pm: Donna (UWS)
2:55-3:25pm: Meet Lawrence at theater
All Day: Call Dan (Makor person)

Let’s dissect:

I was headed to India with my girlfriend, and I needed to go through the insane process of procuring an Indian VISA on the Upper East Side. TIME-CAPSULE TAKEAWAY: In 2007, I was dating a woman. In 2009, I am engaged to a man.

Donna was my therapist in New York. I had a standing appointment with her on the Upper West Side. TIME-CAPSULE TAKEAWAY: I am not in therapy anymore. I am, however, still paying off those therapy sessions. $2,300 to go.

I ran a public dialogue series called “Urgent Conversations” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the DR2 Theater in Union Square, and Lawrence was one of my panelists. TIME CAPSULE TAKEAWAY: I was a part of the New York theater scene, and it was both thrilling and difficult; I miss it. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict rages just as relentlessly.

“Dan” is Dan Gallant, who worked at Makor at the 92ndSt. Y and was asking me to share my list of Urgent Conversations panelists and collaborate on events at Makor. I said no. TIME CAPSULE TAKEAWAY: Dan Gallant is now the Executive Director of the Nuyorican Poets Café and was recently profiled in The New York Times. I want his job. I could very easily see myself going to him asking for some sort of “collaboration” and him saying “no.”

November 9th, 2009:
8-9am: Tuesday Tidbit draft
11-12pm: Donna (l’italiano)
1-2pm: Thank You Lunch Katie
All Day: Registry!

Let’s dissect:

“Tuesday Tidbits” is the biweekly column I write for an association devoted to CFOs of private schools. TIME CAPSULE TAKEAWAY: While I love the people I work with, I really miss working in the theater. I could start an “Urgent Conversations” series about financial sustainability in my new line of work, but that does not feel neeeaaarrrly as urgent to me as the Israeli Palestinian conflict. I miss the bustle and the relevance of my work there, as stressful as it was.

“Donna” the therapist has been replaced with “Donna” my Italian teacher, who gives me an hour-long $15 Italian lesson every week. TIME CAPSULE TAKEAWAY: I do not miss the stress that led me to therapy in New York. I currently feel guilty taking an hour every week for an Italian lesson—who do I think I am, a relaxed freelance writer who can fit in leisure activities like this in the middle of the day? Oh wait…I am…

Had a boozy lunch at a great restaurant in Boulder to thank Katie for helping me redecorate my house. TIME CAPSULE TAKEAWAY: Lunch with a lesbian has replaced trying to be a lesbian.

If you had told me in 2007 that I’d be talking to my fiancée about whether or not to register on REI or Crate & Barrel, I wouldn’t have believed you. TIME CAPSULE TAKEAWAY: You never know what’s ahead. Which makes me wonder…

…what does November 9th, 2011 hold in store for me?

Views: 16

Comment by Laura Rich on November 9, 2009 at 2:40pm
Love the calendar exercise! But two years ago I was hooked up to the Outlook calendar provided by my employers at Condé Nast so I no longer have access to it. But I am pretty sure it went like this:
9 a.m., boring meetings in stifling conference room.
10 a.m. Ditto.
11 a.m. Ditto.
1 p.m. Kiss ass in elevator on way to cafeteria then zoom back to eat at desk and work... etc.

Evenings may have been a bit different - guessing probably book parties, holiday parties, drink meetings. No good trail runs though!
Comment by Mari Brown on November 9, 2009 at 2:48pm
ha! nice.
Comment by Susan Kirby-Smith on November 10, 2009 at 9:36am
Wow fun; that was great.

Let me try to remember.

Nov '00 (before giving up SNL opening life in NYC dreams)
7-10 go to work, work in studio. Documentary studio. Fun, but grueling. No financial security, very little gain.
10-12 hang out with friend at her live-in studio, work on our art project or go to strange Williamsburg bar

April '01 (after kind of giving up)
8-1 work at fish stand in Brooklyn open-air market
1-5 waste time, go to museum, not think about mounting debt
5-10 waste time, look for plane tickets on internet

Nov '09
7-8 waste time, make coffee
8-12 go to pedagogy class at LSU and hold office hours for Freshman comp class I teach on MWF
12-4 work at LSU Press, for little financial gain but good experience (hopefully this press thing will someday be a paying venture somewhere; I don't see why it shouldn't)
4-8 work on writing novel, poetry or plays, or some days, landscape
9-11 go to reading series event I've co-organized

My life is more full now and complete. If I hadn't given up in NYC I'd have been working 10 hour days for three years or something. That was really why I left, I didn't feel like I could get anywhere working so hard on other peoples' projects and commercials. It left me so, so, so tired everyday. Now I work 8 hour days but at least 4 of those hours are for me and I have a lot of control over the other 4 hours.
Comment by Mari Brown on November 10, 2009 at 1:24pm
i love this, susan! love that you did this. i respectfully request more blogging on the fish stand!
Comment by Mari Brown on November 10, 2009 at 7:58pm
Comment by Susan Kirby-Smith on November 11, 2009 at 12:41am
I should say that I'm still not working for massive gain. I'm still a starving artist, more or less, but in a medium-sized city, in a less populated (but extremely popular at times) state. You can be a starving artist in suburbia, and you won't be starving.
Comment by Susan Kirby-Smith on November 11, 2009 at 12:41am
the comments are going backwards; how interesting
Comment by Elizabeth Witmer on November 17, 2009 at 12:17am
you are absolutely making me want to go back in time to revisit my calendar of events from previous years. what i found funny about the difference between you and me is that yours was online (google) while my planner was (and continues to be) the old fashioned paper-type planners. time capsule takeaway: i am a Luddite!
Comment by Mari Brown on November 17, 2009 at 7:19pm
liz, do it! it is a really fun exercise...


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