A Change of Planners

by janevermeulen on January 11, 2018 · 0 comments

Each summer, one of the biggest decisions I make is what daily agenda I will buy for the upcoming year. Since I started university about 25 years ago (yikes!), I realized that my planner could set the tone for my academic year and I would start looking at agendas in July. The research was extensive and I considered size, category column width, binding and pen accessibility. I know that there are wonderful digital planners available and I do use an app to share appointments with my husband, but for me, nothing compares to the physical feel of crossing items off my list with a fine pen. And what I have also realized is that I my agenda reminds me of whom I will be that year—student, career woman or mother. And in 2017, I needed an agenda to remind me that I was actually “Jane” before I was a veterinarian, mother and wife.

For eight years while I was in university, my agenda reflected my academic life—homework assignments, exams and practical training. Then, I entered the work force and my agenda reflected my career—very slick, modern with multiple columns for appointments, meetings and travel. I worked for a pet food nutrition company and they actually sent me on a one-day course on time management and the focus was using your AGENDA! I think that may have been one of the happiest days of my life!

In 2013, my husband and I began our journey as members of the “sandwich generation”—people who were caring for young children and their aging parents. My mother-in-law suffered a massive stroke three weeks before my son was born. She spent the next two years being shuttled between five care facilities before finally coming to Victoria. At that time, I was also doing fertility treatments to have our second child. For years, my agenda looked like a white-board in a hospital—laboratory tests, doctor’s appointments and treatments. And work, of course. Nothing was put in ink because my life was in flux and dependent on other people’s schedule. When my daughter was 13 days old, my mother-in-law died. Suddenly, my agenda had empty spaces. And I started thinking that maybe it was time to schedule some “me time”. I found the perfect agenda:


I was excited to live an “appointment-free” year and focus more on myself. I lost 25 pounds, entered the Mrs. BC Pageant and started working at different clinics. In July, I realized that the agenda had served its purpose—I was starting to remember who I was before the fertility treatments, pregnancies, ailing parents and children. So, it was time for a new agenda to reflect my goals for 2018:


As much as I enjoyed my “me year”, my son is in school and my daughter is an active toddler so my schedule revolves around my family. And that makes me happy and that is enough for “me”.



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