Several years ago my mother came to babysit (back then I had only three kids – I can’t get ANYONE to come now) and I spent a solid forty-five minutes with her running through the instructions that I had taped to the back of all of our remote controls. Secretly, I found this really amusing. I mean, how hard is it to turn on Netflix?
I’m sorry, Mom.
Just a few years later and it’s MY children who are trying to explain “new” technology to ME. Frankly, it seems a little unfair. I should get at least a decade where I know more than someone younger than me.
Through the generosity of family (mostly Crazy Aunt Charlotte) we live a very wired life. Mike and I both have MacBook Airs and iPhones (though Mike’s is six years old and on it’s very last leg). Our house has two iPads. There are Kindles and iPods constantly plugged into the Medusa-looking power strip on the wet bar.
We don’t have cable TV because we don’t need it. With $20/month of Netflix and Hulu, plus our Amazon Prime membership, we have every movie or show we could ever hope to watch at our fingertips – and we don’t even watch very much TV
except the little girls who watch 2 hours of PBS a day– – maybe one show a night and a movie on Friday.
There are two places, however, where this digital universe fails me miserably.
One is music.
I know, I know. There’s Spotify and Pandora and iTunes… but I don’t GET those. They play songs I don’t like and COMMERCIALS and/or they cost more money. My twelve-year-old spends all day with her Beats headphones on, listening to Spotify streaming from one of those aforementioned iPads. Jealous. I wouldn’t know WHAT to listen to. The last album I bought was Red Letter Year by Ani Difranco and that was many red letter years ago. I listen to the radio in the car, but I think most of it is crap. At home, my new phone doesn’t plug into our old speaker so I’m at the mercy of my husband’s playlists.
Last week at a birthday party, my friend introduced me to Amazon Music and Bluetooth speakers.
HELLO? Where have I BEEN?
The next day I was at Costco and saw a portable Bluetooth speaker for $30. What the hell? I bought it.
Then I spent about
8,000 2 hours updating my phone, buying $.99 worth of cloud storage (for all of my photos) so I had some digital space, and setting up Amazon Music. TADA! Life-changing. Ok. Maybe not. But, very, VERY cool. With Amazon Music I can listen to tons of songs streaming with no commercials, all for the price of my Prime membership. I can also download songs and playlists to listen to offline. FOR FREE. That little speaker (which fits in the palm of my hand) means I can listen anywhere. AMAZING. I’m late to the party but I glad I made it.
So, I’m ready to go wireless and digital, right?
My other sticking point has been a digital planner/calendar.
I’ve tried them all. I’ve used iCal. I’ve used Google Calendar. I’ve used Cozi and countless other apps. And… I don’t know. They just don’t do it for me. I forget to update. I’m annoyed by the reminders; they come at inconvenient times so I ignore them. The apps feel clinical and sterile. They don’t have all the info I need, so I end up using iCal + Notes + Evernote + fill-in-the-blank.
I’ve also purchased just about every paper planner out there at one time or another. I use them for a week or so and then get intimidated by all those appointment lines and annoyed with the itty-bitty notes section. They end up sitting on my desk, abandoned and mocking me.
Enter another friend with another suggestion: Bullet Journaling.
Bullet journaling is about as far from Bluetooth speakers as it’s possible to get. It involves, pay attention now, a notebook and a pen. A blank notebook. Radical, right?
I won’t go into too much detail here because you can find out all you never wanted to know about Bullet Journaling from a quick Pinterest search or a trip to the “developer’s” website: bulletjournal.com. But, the gist is that you can use one book for everything. A calendar, a sketch book, a to-do list, a diary, WHATEVER. So it becomes not just a planner but also a lovely snapshot of your life during a particular time.
I am not new to journaling. I’ve done it FOREVER. But somehow, it never occurred to me to combine it with my planner. It seems so obvious to me now. After all, this is the top shelf of my library:
And back when I actually wrote songs, this was how I did it:
With a pen. And work tapes. Yes, cassette tapes. And this was five years ago – after the rise of GarageBand and Pro Tools.
So, is it any wonder that typing things into my phone doesn’t give me the same satisfaction as scribbling them down in a Moleskine? I think not.
It turns out that while you can teach an old dog new tricks (Hello, Bluetooth), sometimes the old tricks are just… better.