Halcyon Days

Last night I was chatting with some friends about good our lives were in college.  Those were halcyon days.  On reflection, I do recall a little bit of stress thrown in the mix as well.  So today I went ahead and located my planner from senior year.  I flipped it open to a random week in November and was amused.  While the number of items per day generally approximates my life nowadays, the items were so DIFFERENT!  Reading the spiral bound book was instructive and humbling.  Let’s take a look, shall we?


lawrence planner i
My organizational prowess really took off at Lawrence University.  I was an early adopter of the daily planner, faithfully purchased every year at Conkey’s Bookstore, which tragically closed in 2009.  I would continue the paper calendar habit for years on a National Gallery of Art planner, before finally going digital.  That is, until I’ve recently discovered the joy of bullet journaling…


lawrence planner ii
I hadn’t yet mastered color coordination…

Monday:  Highlights include a note to get some beer for Elena.  Do I recall Elena?  No.  Do I know what this had to do with the associated comment, “paper?”  No.  Oh, well.  Happy to have helped, Elena.

There were classes–physics and developmental biology–and note to meet with my advisor, Nancy Wall.

I met Mike for dinner.  It was so much easier to get together with friends then.  Younger readers might be amused to see that we had to plan such things in advance.  IT WAS 1997.  THERE WERE NO CELL PHONES.  You could leave a message on your friend’s landline dorm room phone and hope that they would call in to check messages, but generally we had to plan things in advance.

Not that cell phones have made it easier for me these days.  If I don’t get a dinner on the calendar weeks in advance these days, the kids’ stuff engulfs all spare moments and my husband will claim not to have known about the event and be committed to playing video games that night.

Tuesday:  Breakfast with Chris–ditto the meal planning comments above.  Lawrence University was a residential campus, and most people ate in the cafeteria.  Now there’s something I miss:  Three meals a day prepared by someone not me–who also did the dishes!  And back then I could do things like get together for breakfast–because I didn’t need makeup to look like something other than a bleary-eyed person recently emerging from a mining disaster.  I probably literally woke up 5 minutes before breakfast on that day.

Other highlights of the day include the fact that I was still attending actual, legitimate meetings at 10 p.m.  Nowadays my husband and I argue about who has to stay awake to pick up the kid at 9:30 from dance.  Other highlight:  the word aerobics.

Wednesday:  This day give me anxiety for my younger self.  Look at all of those appointments!  True, one of them was a four-hour happy hour, but still!   Four hours of beer…these days, two glasses of wine and I’m either asleep or crying over a movie on the Hallmark Channel.  1997 version of me?  I finished up happy hour and then went to work the front desk of the residence hall from 9 p.m. to midnight.  Vital tasks there included selling tokens for the washing machines and renting out the TV/VCR combo.

Thursday:  What is this focus group at 8:15 a.m., and how did I possibly pull it off?  Why I am meeting with eighth graders?  I worked two jobs that day–touring prospective students and working in the writing lab. There were FOUR evening meetings back to back.  When did I actually study?  Did Bobbi and I meet at 5:30 to go to aerobics?  All of the answers are lost to the mists of time.  Except for the aerobics thing, because I got a pair of hot pink Avia leggings that say YES, there was aerobics.

Friday:  Well here’s a fun thing that I can’t do anymore:  wander a block and a half across campus, likely dressed like a slob, and see a performance by Diana Krall.  I remember that one–she sang a song that included the phrase “Peel me a grape.”  I can’t even remember if students had to pay for those tickets…

The weekend:  Busy, and closed out with meeting Anne in the library Sunday afternoon.  I loved Sundays–sleep in, meet your friends in the cafeteria for brunch to review whatever had happened the night before, and then go study in the library for the afternoon.  Once in the library, you could be sure where your friends could be found when a break was needed, as we all had our favorite study carrels.  Other break options included checking one’s email on the DOS-BASED TERMINALS BECAUSE THERE WERE NO CELL PHONES.  Sometimes I napped in the library, the smells of the stacks filling my nostrils.  Halcyon days, indeed…


Now, the same girlfriend with whom I was reminiscing about college pointed out that my planner is not at all representative of a norm, because I was (am) an enormous nerd.  But I’m happy that I saved it.  It’s hard to believe that I once was that person…but if given the chance and access to that obsessive planner?  I feel like I could slip back into her life pretty easily.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: