Collect Calendars, Not Broken Resolutions

While most people ring in the New Year by making resolutions to improve their lives, I eagerly await January first as the unveiling of a new wall calendar. Of course, everyone else with a busy schedule is also searching for, purchasing, and pinning up their own new calendars around this time of year. But for me, it’s become sort of a hobby.

I collect weird calendars. I intentionally say “weird” to be as general as possible. For fear of missing out on something truly bizarre, I choose not to discriminate among the kinds of oddities that might grace my wall in the upcoming year. (That being said, I draw the line at anything resembling porn, since I do have to look at the same twelve images all year.)

It all started in January 2012, when I stumbled across a calendar called Magnificent Specimens while browsing in Newbury Comics, a music, pop culture, and nerd hub local to New England.  Initially drawn in by the name—what kind of magnificent specimens?— from the preview of images on the reverse of a calendar featuring a friendly, hatted man, I quickly realized that I had picked up a calendar devoted to capturing the whimsy of facial hair. And that’s how I, then a sixteen-year-old girl, came home with professional photographs of twelve uniquely hairy older men. The following January, uncertain of how I could possibly find a better calendar than last year, I headed back to Newbury Comics. This time I came away with an admittedly less remarkable Albert Einstein calendar—old photographs and quotes from the man himself against a different bright, bold color every month. Still, I was pleased with my purchase and looked forward to spend the year with ol’ Al.​At this point I’ll admit I wasn’t consciously looking for a “weird” calendar—I just knew I wanted something that would surprise me and make me laugh. Although, now that I’m on the other side of my teenage years, I can sheepishly admit that I was trying to be eccentric, to assert my individuality against a rural suburban backdrop of high school sameness…apparently, by buying a calendar that no one except me would see. Nice work, seventeen-year-old me.

Once I got to college, my calendars enjoyed slightly more attention. This is also around the time I started making a conscious effort to only buy calendars that were offbeat in some way, partially because I wanted people to see me as someone enigmatic or at least funny, but also because I enjoyed them. I gravitated toward things I knew little about, like the Einstein calendar, or even never heard of before, like my next one, Goats in Trees (How do they get up there? How do they get down?). Flipping the page of a silly calendar each month has allowed me to occupy a mental space of whimsy and unexpectedness that ordinary life (and ordinary calendars) don’t provide on a daily basis.​

That’s right, this baby could be yours for 2017!

Since consciously starting to collect weird calendars, I’ve stopped making New Year’s resolutions. For a while, I thought that this was just an organic outgrowing of my desperate early-teen attempts to reinvent myself and “become who I really am.” Surely this is at least part of the explanation, but being the symbolism-seeking English major I am, I couldn’t help but wonder if there wasn’t something more. Could it really just be coincidence that I ceased wanting to make New Year’s resolutions just when I started looking forward to finding my calendar of the year? I realized that, in a way, by seeking out unexpected calendars, I allow myself to see myself differently. By living with a Toilets Around the World calendar, I accepted myself as someone who may just like potty humor. Last year, my Farm Animal Yoga calendar allowed me to imagine how much more at peace I could be if I just tried yoga.​But more importantly, and more seriously, they remind me to keep an open mind and be accepting of something I might consider at first to be a little strange simply because I haven’t encountered it yet. This year, it’s Tortoises in Sweaters.   

 

Image Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5