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Calendar girl — restraining, retraining my chaos

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FEBRUARY 15, 2023

My grasp upon the concept of time has always been tenuous at best. Analog clocks are an indecipherable code. I’ve never fully mastered the American order of days, months and years. Asking me for the date will always be a fruitless venture. My brain has always refused to decipher and record such trivial data, occupying itself with consuming anxiety about what could happen instead of what is actually happening. Most of the time, I have no idea what is going on, and even less of an idea of what is going to happen. 

I’ve always been a high energy person with high aspirations. I say “yes, and …” before I can think. Yet, my downfall is never overcommitment, faineance nor lethargy. No, my Achilles heel that pulls me down every time is my inability to keep a schedule and plan my commitments and life into a predictable, balanced harmony. 

Throughout my entire adolescence, I was a flaming, hot mess. I ran through the world as if I scurried across scorching coals, rarely focusing on one thing long enough to bring it to fulfillment. Instead, I left uncompleted intentions to char in the embers as I’m pulled to my next task. I was juggling balls of fire, trying to do everything with little knowledge of what I actually needed to prioritize.  

My disorganization irritated those around me and continually induced self-directed fury. I tried every trick and app possible, but was never able to find something I would remember to maintain — something that would actually pull my life together. 

However, that all changed when I transferred to UC Berkeley. Suddenly, my life took on a whole new layer of mayhem — my days busier than ever with countless meetings that needed to be sandwiched between my classes. More homework, more clubs, more friends and more commitments were all jostling for my time. 

This new chapter of my life demanded that I become a calendar girl. I’d been the girl on the calendar, as my mum has always made yearly calendars composed of composites of me from the previous year for distant family members. But I’d never been the girl using the calendar. 

Ultimately, Google Calendar cracked the code of my chaos. Its bright colors, constant reminders and pervasive presence within all my school accounts finally latched into my brain, delivering me from my world of disarray into methodologically calculated mayhem. 

My days are busier than ever — starting with my rise in the morning at 10 a.m. to my forced bedtime at 1 a.m. But finally, for the first time, I know exactly what is going to happen, when everything is due and what I said I would do. Always in sight and subsequently out of mind, my overachieving intentions feel so much more feasible and almost easy. Now, I can see them weeks in advance.  

With my rainbow of commitments, food breaks, homework sessions and relaxation time all planned as to not launch me into premature burnout, anything is possible. 

Am I now some perfectly organized wiz? No, nowhere close. I’m still excessively busy and known to forget the occasional event only to be waylaid by its occurrence. But I’m leaps and bounds more coordinated than I could have ever dreamt of being this time last year. My calendar has given me the present of peace, a calm of finally knowing what is coming and the confidence to reasonably take on whatever comes my way. 

Contact Elise Cline at 


FEBRUARY 15, 2023