Dec 27 2017

When Old … is New

Melissa Crytzer Fry

You know the saying: “What’s old is new again.” It applies to everything from clothing and music to facial hair and … yes, those old-timey things called pen and paper (In the old days: diary. Today: bullet journal).

This is page 2 of my 2017 goals. Now, at year end, the right page is filled with notes about what I accomplished.

This is my bullet journal — page 2 of my 2017 goals . Now, at year end, the right page is filled with notes about what I accomplished. Click to enlarge.

Yes, I’m now one of those bullet-journal converts. I’d first heard about bullet journaling from the She Reads group (authors Ariel Lawhon and Marybeth Waylen) back in 2016. Then in 2017, another online friend, Nina Badzin, sang the praises of bullet journaling.

So I finally began my own bullet journal in June of 2017, researching the philosophy of this blank-but-dotted-page concept and reviewing different page style designs; I wanted to focus on the things most important to me and achieve some long-standing goals.

The results since … well, they’re nothing short of spectacular. It has been a transformative tool for me, personally. In the past, I would sit down and dutifully make my list of goals for the year. When they were written out on a multi-page (6-8) Word doc featuring my writing, creative, reading, freelance, fitness and personal goals, it became 1) overwhelming and 2) because it was on my computer or printed out and buried on my desk: out-of-sight-out-of-mind.

When I read fiction, I really study it -- hence my detailed list of books I've read, their genre, what I thought of them, POV, etc.

These are pages I dedicated to my reading. When I read fiction, I really study it — hence the detailed list of books I’ve read, genre, what I thought of them, POV, etc.

Bullet journaling is a bit of a throwback, in my opinion – a perfect example of “what’s old is new again.” It’s paper, pens, pencils, doodling – and, if you want – stencils, stickers, rubber stamps … Anything but online. The things I did when I was in junior high.

But it’s much more. It’s personalized. You can set your journal up how it works best for you. The bujo (bullet journal for short) method, which helps you break down goals into manageable bite-site bits with its future pages, monthly pages, weekly pages and daily pages, actually relaxes me and helps me focus. I’m no longer overwhelmed with my goals and have actually met most of them. It was a matter of perspective, I suppose, as I kept my goals/to dos just as long as my original Word doc, BUT I approached the list differently and allowed myself to be “ok” with moving a goal/task to the future (Read here about the entire methodology).

I focused on my health the past six months and achieved the goals I set in place; I focused on fiction; I read; and I got back into photography. (Blogging, as you might have noticed, was not on my priority list. Which – no surprise – gave me room to accomplish other neglected priorities).

As we approach a new year, enjoy a few of my photography samples during 2017 – achieved, thanks in part, to the priorities in my bullet journal:

This isn’t just a flower. Do you see anything on the right side of the petals? Click to enlarge.

This impressive ram (desert bighorn sheep) was eyeing us – way up on top of a mountain – during a camping trip. Click to enlarge.

We took a quad ride to a new part of the desert with incredible saguaros and breathtaking vistas. Click to enlarge.

This young coyote pup (and its sibling + mom) posed for me from our rooftop deck. If you click to enlarge, you may see that something else is attempting a photobomb!

This young coyote pup (and its sibling + mom) posed for me from our rooftop deck. If you click to enlarge, you may see that something else is attempting a photobomb!

This cholla flower looks like cake-decorating fondant (and the ants think so, too).

This cholla flower looks like cake-decorating fondant (and the ants think so, too).

A mother desert cottontail dug her nest (a hole in the dirt) right next to my office porch! There were three little heads poking up!

A mother desert cottontail dug her nest (a hole in the dirt) right next to my office porch! There were actually three little heads poking up!

I was SO excited to see this tiger rattlesnake under the tree in front of my office window. I'd previously only seen western diamondbacks and black-tailed.

I was SO excited to see this tiger rattlesnake under the tree in front of my office window. I’d previously only seen western diamondbacks and black-tailed.

For Readers, Writers, Everyone: As you ring in the new year, consider the old. Bullet journaling might be the thing that gets you on track and lessens your anxiety about goal-setting. Be like me: take the pressure off and start later in the year. No one says you have to begin on Jan. 1. Happy holidays and happy new year!


22 Responses to “When Old … is New”

  • avatar Jackie Cangro Says:

    Beautiful photos, Melissa! You are a superb photographer.

    I love the way you record the books you’ve read in your journal. I too soon forget book details and want a better way to keep track. Right now I have notes in various notebooks — not very organized. Thanks for sharing this tip.

    Wishing you the best in 2018! Here’s to another successful bullet journal year. 🙂

    [Reply]

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Thanks, Jackie. You’re too kind! I’m like you — I often forget the details of what I’ve read. In addition to listing the ‘high-level’ stuff, I discovered “book darts,” which I use to mark pages and then write notes in a large, lined Post-It Tablet that I stick to the back of the book jacket. I’m slightly out of control :-).

    Have a fabulous 2018 as well!

    [Reply]

  • avatar Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Your photography never fails to inspire!

    [Reply]

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Thank you, Laurie. I got lucky with lots of wildlife right in front of my window this year! Have a fabulous 2018!

    [Reply]

  • avatar linda anselmi Says:

    Excellent timing on the Bullet Journal. New to me, though I have been doing some aspects of i on my own. The indexing is simple but brilliant! A why didn’t I think of that moment.

    Always wonderful to see your pictures!!! Hope you had a very merry christmas!

    [Reply]

    avatar

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Good for you, Linda, for doing aspects of bullet journaling on your own. I agree — the simplicity IS brilliant! Love it. We had a great Christmas; I hope you did as well. Wishing you the best in 2018!

    [Reply]

  • avatar Nina Says:

    I cannot tell you how happy this post made me!

    [Reply]

    avatar

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    I was hoping you’d see it. And I knew YOU would appreciate it, given your own positive experience with bullet journaling — and your guidance (thank you). Make it a great 2018!

    [Reply]

  • avatar Leah Says:

    I was so happy to see your post! I’ve missed your writing and beautiful photos. And I’m also a fan of the bullet journal. Love seeing the pictures of how you use your journal too. Happy (almost) New Year!

    [Reply]

    avatar

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Hi Leah! Glad the bujo works for you, too. You seem ultra-organized anyway — so I am not surprised. Hope 2018 continues to be transformative for you!

    [Reply]

  • avatar Hallie Says:

    I…love…this! I’ve been using the Best Self Journal and I love it. I’m totally with you on the physical versus digital. I never look on my computer at my goals no matter what I do. And your pictures are amazing!!!!

    I may have to get a bullet journal just for the doodling! 🙂

    [Reply]

    avatar

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Hallie! So good to hear from you. I’m off to check out the Best Self Journal (this is new to me). While I really love the Leuchtturm, Im finding I need the mamba-jamba one; the standard, fit-in-the-purse size is too constricting. Problem with the larger one is it doesn’t have nearly enough pages! Here’s to a great 2018, my friend!

    [Reply]

  • avatar Cherry harris Says:

    Hello again Melissa I’m so glad you are back , sorry you have not been well I do hope you are feeling better.
    Your photos are a delight and so glad you are enjoying pen and ink again ?
    Cherryx

    [Reply]

    avatar

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Cherry – I’m so happy to see you! Ah – my health issues span years (inflammation, pre-Diabetes — thanks, Mom and Dad for the crappy genetics), but those things are GONE now, due to diet changes (I’d tried various healthy eating habits before with no results, but what I did this time actually helped with blood test results, etc)! Yippee.

    I hope you’re off to a good start this year!

    [Reply]

  • avatar Annie Neugebauer Says:

    I’m so happy for you, Melissa! I don’t bullet journal, but I do have a similar system with my planner, so you know I love this. 🙂 Thanks for sharing some shots of your pages; I’m always so curious to see people’s formatting and stuff. And of course, your photography is stunning as always. Happy happy New Year to you!

    [Reply]

    avatar

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Ah, I could NEVER be as organized as Queen Annie! Ever. You are truly amazing (just look at the accomplishments you listed for 2017 — woo wee). Here’s to rocking it again in 2018, my friend!

    [Reply]

  • avatar Jenna Says:

    I take pleasure in, cause I found exactly what I was having a look for.
    You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day.

    Bye

    [Reply]

  • avatar me Says:

    melissa please come back the kids miss you

    [Reply]

  • avatar Edenfantasys Says:

    The slightly longer answer is that no work I have ever done has brought me as much joy and hope, or changed my outlook on life as profoundly. Even now, I am surprised to be writing those words. In early 2015, I began a series of articles following six New Yorkers age 85 and older — one of the fastest-growing age groups in the country. The six lived in nursing homes or walk-up apartments; they played mah-jongg or listened to opera or made scratchy independent movies. One found new love in old age; one said at every interview that he wanted to die. All six had beaten the odds just by living that long. At the beginning of 2018, having just revisited them in “ Want to Be Happy? Think Like an Old Person ,” I can say that four are still beating them.

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