For anyone who isn’t a stationery geek, this post might be a little lost on you. In fact, this post might be a little lost on anyone who isn’t a teacher, seen as the only people I know who get this excited about new notebooks are my fellow teachers. But perhaps if notebooks aren’t your thing, you can still get secondhand enjoyment from reading this post and hearing about other people’s happiness.
Because, as sad as some of you might find it, a new notebook does bring happiness.
The commitment to a new notebook is not something that is to be taken lightly. No, you have to find the right notebook, the one where the lines are spaced perfectly, the one with a cover that speaks to you, the one with just the right amount of pages that it doesn’t seem intimidating to fill but also isn’t going to be one that you go through in a few months. It has to feel good in your hand. It has to make you think ‘this is the notebook that I will fill with my best ideas’. I’m serious, finding the perfect notebook is an art. It takes time, commitment and a lot of patience.
But then you find ‘The One’ and angels sing and all is right with the world. You carry it home like it is a priceless treasure because to you it is.
Once you’ve found ‘The One’, then you must show it off. It’s almost like the law of the perfect notebook that the world should see how well matched you are. Find another stationary geek and the notebook conversation can last an entire lunch break. I used to love being in briefing or the staff room and a fellow teacher would proudly show off their new purchase. My year group partner Charlie was like the stationery queen. All of her stationary complimented each other – Cath Kidston inspired floral pens, rose gold paper clips, a motivational quote cover on her notebook… she was my stationary idol. When I went travelling, she even got me a notebook to document my time away. She knew, one notebook freak to another, that it was the perfect gift.
I thik the reason that a new notebook creates such happiness is that really it symbolises so much more than a few bits of lined paper glued to a fancy cover. A new notebook is essentially a new start. That first page, the one that you try to do your very neatest handwriting on, sets the tone for the rest of what is to come. Your old, tatty notebook is full and done with, but this notebook can be whatever you want it to be.
They say that one of the best things for self care is to write a journal. By doing so, you create a safe space for your inner most thoughts, for your absent minded doodles, for your rants about shitty days and your moving prose about great ones. Where would a journal be without a notebook?
I’m not for one second saying that buying a new notebook will make all of your problems disappear, pay off your debts and make you stop being guilt tripped by your friends into doing things that you don’t want to do. It won’t make your children their dinner and it won’t bring you a chilled bottle of wine when you want one, but it will bring you a space to fill entirely as you chose. It will provide a place for your imagination to run wild in judgement free. It will also bring you a line to draw under your stresses once you have let them out onto the page, simply by just allowing you to close the cover.
So the next time you see your teacher friend or your writer friend or your journaling friend bright eyed and beaming because of their pretty new purchase, smile for them, even if you don’t understand their level of excitement and happiness. Smile because they have found ‘The One’, a place to offload and a space where they can cross things out, rewrite them to have a do-over and it be okay.