Story by Diane Francisco
When I was still in grade school, there was the Filofax and all those leather bound organizers I've been coveting. As a kid who couldn't wait to grow up, I dreamed of having one for myself. I was imagining the smell and feel of the leather's skin and the smooth white pages waiting to be filled with my handwritten notes. Reality however never fails to awake me. A kid, who goes to school with packed lunch and snacks and occasional Php 50 bonus from her grandparents, can never afford to purchase that grown up organizer.
To keep me organized, I usually avail those mini planners sold in bookstores. I started with the Php 20 annual planner produced by Hallmark. When I turned 7, an older cousin introduced me to Papemelroti. It was also few days after Christmas when I first stepped to Papemelroti's Ali Mall branch. I was overwhelmed with all the stationery in brown paper. This is my happy place!
My first purchases from Papemelroti were the classic brown notepads. Over time, I discovered the notebooks and mini planners. I started buying the mini planners when I was 11 years old. I would write my deadlines in the tiniest boxes devoted for each day. When something significant happened on a particular day, I ensured to write down my sentiments. Whenever I failed or miraculously passed a test, felt upset for being reprimanded, discovered and revealed secrets among friends, and my most favorite then, the rare times my crush glanced at me. Haha
The mini planner didn't perform mini functions for me. It became a journal. It became a documentation of my growing up years. The annual collection of mini Papemelroti planners lasted until I finished college. When I started working, I got complimentary planners from the company. I was also once of those who became highly dependent with technology. All my schedules were plotted either on my mobile phone or Microsoft Calendar.
Five years after working and finishing my mastoral degree, I decided to do some major de-cluttering at home. It was also days after Christmas when I decided to throw away the unnecessary things caused by my highly sentimental personality. I later discovered my pile of Papemelroti planners. I found 10 planners that represented the past 10 years of my life. I read the all my handwritten entries and found myself crying and laughing at the same time. I cannot explain the overflowing emotions thriving in me. Had it really been 10 years?
The planners related my growing up years. I wrote about my struggles, insecurities, achievements and priceless moments of happiness. Much of what I am today can be told by what I wrote inside those planners.
I decided to compile the planners in a special place. Every time I would feel sad and upset, I would take out those planners and reread everything I have written. In a way, I would like to believe that they served as my security blankets. The planners reminded me that I grew up. I survived the challenges and problems came my way. It also gave me an assurance that no matter what it takes, I have made things happen.
I hold on to my mini planners in those lowest points of my life. Unfortunately, those 10 years of my life were taken away. When typhoon Ondoy hit our home in Marikina, the planners vanished. I secretly wept for all the memories I lost.
However, I would like to believe that it was God's compelling way for me to grow up and let go. My 10 years in those planners maybe gone but the memories, never! The past 10 years are stored in a more secured place, my heart.
The past week, I happened to drop by the Ali Mall branch of Papemelroti. I needed to purchase some decorative items for a DIY project. Despite nearing the middle of the year, I purchased this mini planner. It made me smile for a while. I just turned 30, entered another decade and I was thinking, it would be nice to start documenting my life again?
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