Would it kill you to email?

It’s traditional to review ‘the year that’s been’ as we prepare to enter the year ahead. The media does this with top ten lists; I do it by transferring birthdays and anniversaries to my new desktop calendar. This year I am using a Sierra Club Engagement Calendar. I bought it because they say a portion of the proceeds go “…to preserve and protect our environment.” And because I think the pictures are pretty. Ironically, I keep the calendar folded to the current week to minimize the space it takes on my desk, so I only see the pictures for a second when I turn the page.

As I perform my annual ritual, copying birthdays from one calendar to the other, I indulge in my own version of judgment day. Names that evoke a warm response, cause me to wonder how they’re doing, or make me feel happily nostalgic, get carried over to the next year. But if a name causes a negative reaction, no matter how small, then it doesn’t get written into the calendar for the coming year. (I’m not making any John Lennon-like claims about my place in the universe, but it’s hard to miss the similarity between what I do and Yom Kippur.)

My negative reactions are not the result of the person having done something to me. The person has done nothing. They haven’t written or called, Facebooked or tweeted, or even left a comment on my blog. I make it a practice to contact people I like at least once a year. When a birthday appears on my calendar, it’s a sign that it’s time to check in. (These days Facebook keeps track of birthdays, but that’s only useful if you’re satisfied dropping a three-word greeting on someone’s wall. I like to send a card, and for that I need advance notice, the kind you get when you can look a week or two into the future, on your calendar.)

Anniversaries I track include the first date Andrew and I had, and our wedding, both of which are likely to be noted until one or both of us drops dead. I also track the date we brought our cats home from the shelter. Some anniversaries have a finite run. I no longer note the date we closed on our ‘new’ house (fourteen years ago, mid-January, dang, what was the date?), nor do I any longer keep track of the date I quit smoking (which I’m pretty sure was March 10, well over twenty-five years ago).

Transferring birthdays and anniversaries (while important) is also an excuse to review every week of ‘the year that’s been.’ I revisit lunches I had with friends, meetings of my critique group, our bookclub get-togethers and dinners with friends, Hannah’s soccer games and piano recitals, holidays with my family, and vacations with the in-laws. 2010 was a year full of friends, new and old, family, near and far, and the freedom to pursue a dream. It was a good year.

May 2011 bring health and happiness to you and yours. (And don’t forget to check in with me at least once.)


10 responses to “Would it kill you to email?

  1. Happy New Year ti you too!

  2. I thought you posted on Tuesdays…

    Happy New Year to you too. I just did the transfer of birthdays and my anniversary. I’m always paranoid I’ll forget somebody. It’s sad when I come across a date of someone who has died in the past year. Calendar change is when I reflect on past events as relationships as well.

    FYI: I hate my calendar. I got Wonders of the World, though I really wanted a Parisian one but couldn’t find any by the time they were 50% off. Maybe next year.

  3. Happy New Year! Coffee sometime??

  4. I hope I made the cut. I must tell you, and I should have told you a few months ago, but yours was indeed the only birthday card I received in the mail. Sure, lots of Facebook wall postings wishing me a great day but only 1 physical card. It made me so happy to receive it. and I was grinning like a lonely college kid with a care package from home. Warmed my heart so much that I resolved to write real, actual letters to several of my friends I’ve been out of touch with lately. I need to credit you with that. Let’s do lunch or dinner soon!

  5. Don’t worry about my not receiving your card or email on my birthday. I still read this blog. I’m that guy.


  6. I bet you get some guilty responses to this one. Not from me, of course. But I do have a query: why “my family” and “my in-laws’? I like to think they’re all family. “Steps” and “in-laws” are concepts I do without.
    As for calendars, transferring all those birthdays is fun, but a better solution is a family member who sends you a new calendar with great pictures of all the family with all those birthdays plugged in. But it comes with the disadvantage of possible omissions (birthdays) and led one child to ask why there were more pictures of Isaac than of the other kids. He may be cute, but fair’s fair. Expect a better balance in the 2011 edition.

    • I did get many responses to this that made *me* feel guilty. I didn’t think it through carefully enough. The fact is, I have many friends whose birthdays I do not know, therefore they do not appear on my calendar in the first place. Their absence means nothing. As for dropping the “in-law” qualifier, I will be honored to do so in the future. You realize that means you must refer to me as your niece from now on? xo

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