The last post on this blog I wrote six years ago, in 2016. So where have I been?
It is interesting how in life, a lot of things change throughout the years, while at the same time many things stay the same - but yet, feel different. I finished my degree and started working full-time. Relationships came, and went. My personality changed. I became more open and confident as I learned how to better cater to my needs. At the same time: The basic pillars of my personality stayed the same. My introverted nature, my curiosity, my sense of wonder about life, my need to connect, my need for stillness, the delight I feel in getting to know people and emotions, the necessity of sometimes being on my own. It all didn’t change - and yet, it did. Life feels deeper now, more meaningful, more colorful. The need for order and control - still there - but less so. The need for order and control. Is this what the pen and paper hobby is about? Partly. Here is what changed about the hobby for me, as I changed.
The need for control
Live feels more manageable if it is structured, written down, on paper, presented to others, adorned with Washi Tape. This is one of the things the planner community does for people. And it can be helpful. And there is a genuine need to plan. At the same time, the planning process can give the illusion of control where in reality there is no control. That can be helpful too. In the long run however, it is my belief, people do better with the truth. Over the years, my levels of acceptance increased, my tolerance for ambiguity increased, and my focus on things that I do control increased. As that happened, planning changed from a regimented ritualistic process to more of a need-based on-the-go activity for me. Which means I am far less into the planning hobby and the planning community.
Buying stuff is fun. Because it is sold on dreams. The fetishization of pen and paper that is happening, especially in the Instagram and YouTube community, is testament to that. I still engage in consumerism. Although mostly in other areas.
The delight in well-crafted things
There is a delight that goes beyond blind consumerism if one engages with the history and the making and the properties and the use of a thing. I still very much enjoy that aspect of the pen and paper hobby. I love Traveler’s Notebooks, I love Pelikan’s and Pilot’s fountain pens and inks. In my enjoyment, I became very aware of two important principles: (1) It is conducive for the enjoyment of a thing if there are fewer things. More things do not equal more enjoyment. (2) To really enjoy a thing, one has to make it their own. One has to use it, often, without fear of breaking it, and without wishing for other things, or the thing to be different. I enjoy my things more since following these two principles more rigorously. It also leads me to engage less in the various online communities around things.
The act of writing, the act of thinking
In the end, there must be the process of writing for the tools to have any real meaning at all. Writing is a way to think. Processing thoughts and feelings and connecting ideas is vital, and writing is one very important way for me to do that. I have always had a journal and I will continue to do so. The act of journaling itself has moved the forefront of my pen and paper hobby, and I really enjoy it. It makes me confident in my experiences, knowing that I have ways of processing them, journaling being one of them.
I do not think there will be any more gear reviews on this blog. Nor will there be essays about planning systems. I have moved from tools to experiences and really enjoy that. I am excited for new experiences. I may tell you how it went. Maybe six years from now.