Friday, October 30, 2009

Remembering it now.

Scrambels posing with my Field Notes.

"I'm not writing it down to remember it later, I'm writing it down to remember it now." -- Field Notes

One of the things I learned at the start of this breakup was that my love of list-making and data-keeping was going to somehow help me sort all this shit out. And guess what? It did.

There is something so comforting about a well organized list. It's clear, its solid, its tangible. Your tasks, goals, or groceries are all lined up in such an authoritative way. You can't mess with a good list. It speaks the truth.

Remember when I went to San Diego to see my best friend a few days after the breakup? (See: My Magical Best Friend). For the first time ever I sat face-to-face with her and told her what had really been going on in my relationship. I hadn't been open about it for a long time. When I was talking to her, I started to notice how wonderful it felt to say it all out loud, to be honest about it, and I knew I had to start writing it down because I didn't want to forget. You see, I used to do this thing where I would disregard our problems because we couldn't face them and basically "forget" them. Healthy, huh? So when I was sitting in the airport, waiting to go back home after the visit, I pulled out the hot pink notebook I bought right before my trip and I started to write a list of all the things I told her.


-- selfishness

That was the first thing I wrote and then I kept going and the list got longer, more detailed and descriptive. Next, I started a timeline. I wrote down every year we were together and alongside each year I listed the big things that happened to us, both good and bad. And when I was done, I had this picture of our life together. What I discovered was that a lot of the years, I mean whole years, were rough. I always knew we had gone through a lot together, but to see it all on paper, in list form, gave me a really clear sense of how I honestly spent nearly a decade of my life. I could see that I belived I was in it for the long haul. You don't go through the ups and downs we did and not think you're in it for the long haul. We were committed, this is certain. But why? And if we were so committed, how did we fail?

To help me answer that question, I kept writing the lists, hoping they would lead me to some miraculous enlightened conclusion. Then the lists turned into essays and the essays turned into this blog. And all this list-making, data-keeping, blogging, and analysis has shown me something.

No matter what, we were all wrong for each other.

And now I carry that hot pink, little notebook in my purse and whenever I feel warm feelings for him, I re-read it. It reminds me of all the things I used to forget. It shows me how wrong we are for each other and that really helps me. It's helping me to move on and someday (hopefully someday soon) its going to help me to let go.

So Dear Followers of my humble blog, I encourage you to start making lists of your own, if you haven't already. I recommend buying Field Notes because they're great. (See: Grass Stain Green). If I had a fresh Field Notes notebook in my purse that day in the airport, I would have happily used it, but I didn't. So when you do start your data-keeping and list-making, order yourself a 3-pack of Field Notes. As the company states, "I'm not writing it down to remember it later, I'm writing it down to remember it now." Now how fitting is that?


Field Notes
INSPIRED BY the vanishing subgenre of agricultural memo books, ornate pocket ledgers and the simple, unassuming beauty of a well-crafted grocery list, the Draplin Design Company, Portland, Oregon in conjunction with Coudal Partners of Chicago, Illinois bring you “FIELD NOTES” in hopes of offering, “An honest memo book, worth fillin’ up with GOOD INFORMATION.”

Photo by jonrbeck


  1. I've been thinking about this a lot and I couldn't agree with you more about writing it down to remind yourself. I'm going to invest in some pretty stationery... :)

  2. I'm so glad. You have to share what you find once you start your list! Plus any excuse to buy pretty stationary is always a plus.

  3. yeah... i started my first field notes with my first relationship some two years ago. it is now a fascinating longitudinal experiment, as i can see how all things happened pretty clearly.

    on to my twelfth FN so far now, and twice as many have been written in since we broke up compared to when we were together. still sorting through it though.

    thanks field notes. you help keep me sane.

  4. I'm an obsessive list maker as well. My lists range from illegible notes scribbled on my hand, to micro-lettered lists on miniscule scraps of paper, to sketchbook pages crammed with writing and drawings. It is comforting to know that I don't have to rely on my memory, and I can always go back and reference what I've written down. And somehow it really does help to better organize things in my brain and figure things out. I'm glad it has helped you as well. Enjoyed reading the post.



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