It will surprise no one to know that I was a weird kid with weird interests, some of which I have carried into adulthood.

My grammar obsession started early – my mom found an old typewriter at a yard sale and brought it home to me when I was about 8 years old. Delighted, I immediately rolled in a piece of paper and typed up the different forms of “your/you’re,” “to/two/too,” and “they’re/there/their,” complete with examples of how to properly use each word. I brought it to school the next day to show off and offered to type up extra copies for any of my classmates who might want to keep it on hand for future reference; shockingly, there were no takers.

Then I went through a phase in which I was fascinated by names. I checked baby name books out of the library — almost two decades before I would have my first child — and made lists of names I liked and their meanings or origins. (Neither of my kids has a name from my original lists — first or middle.)

I also had an intense interest in calendars. I found them very comforting, the way the order of months and days never changes; the little nods to each months’ holidays, with February always having pink and red highlights and July always having red, white, and blue; the sense of promise you felt when hanging up a calendar at the start of a new year or even just flipping to a new month. I loved to make my own calendars for fun, sprawling out on the floor with a ruler and a bunch of markers, creating careful grids and inking in all of the important dates.

I liked “normal” stuff, too; don’t get me wrong. I played with Cabbage Patch Kids, tore out posters of Fred Savage and New Kids on the Block from “Tiger Beat,” and pored over teen magazines to determine if I was a “summer” or an “autumn.” 

As I moved out of childhood and into adolescence, I tried to be a little less quirky and just like the things everyone else liked, and now that I’m too old to care much about my public persona, I’m also too busy to really cultivate any niche hobbies. So many of my former passions have fallen by the wayside, although I do still do occasional freelance editing work and take note of celebrity baby names. 

My love for calendars, however, remains unchanged. I always pick a special calendar for my office (it helps me get over the angst of going back to work after a long holiday break) and buy calendars for my daughters based on their current obsessions (this year, for instance, Georgia has a corgi calendar, and Ruby has one that pays tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg). I still feel excited when I tear the cellophane off of a new year in grid form, and I still get a happy little tingle as I flip through the months, hopefully imagining the future and wistfully remembering the past.

I have no idea what 2022 will bring — and after the past two years, I know it would be foolish to even try to guess at such a thing. But I’m still breaking out my calendar and tacking it up on the wall with a sense of wonder and gratitude, even if I have to struggle a bit to cultivate those emotions. Because regardless of what happens this year, I’m here to see it in, and that’s a blessing.

Happy new year, everyone. May it be full of the things that bring you joy and comfort — no matter how weird they are.