It's that time of year again, just after Christmas and right before the year ends (or begins, depending on your perspective). One look at my natty old address book is proof of the years gone by and the changes that have happened during that time.
I pulled out my book of addresses when I prepared to get my Christmas cards out in time (I barely made it). The second I opened the cover, I understood again why I procrastinate doing this task. People come in and out of our lives, and it's all scribbled down right there in our address book. Different colored pens, pencil, tape, white outs, black outs, highlights... At least that's what mine is like. I should throw out the damn thing and start over.
But I can't throw it away. There's too much history within its pages.
I see a child's scrawl of a classmate's name and phone number from years ago. The past becomes the present for only a minute, but long enough to relive a brief passage of time. It triggers a memory and I get nostalgic as my eyes scan to the next entry.
It's incredible the number of times I've scratched out an address and phone number, then added the changed one. That one is scratched out, then the next and the next, revealing every move and change in that person's life. People leave, get divorced, remarried, and die. The address book is like a history book, a memory book, a scrap book.
Mine is also filled with the ripped off corners of envelopes that have the return address. It's a reminder for me to make the change inside the book, and sometimes I do, and sometimes I forget until I'm addressing Christmas cards a year later.
The one entry I can't bare to touch is the one for my mom. She moved a lot during the last ten years of her life, and the final move is still in its pristine and unscribbled spot on her page in my address book. It reminds me of all our phone calls, letters, and shared birthday and Christmas cards. And it reminds me how much I miss her, especially during the holidays.
Do you keep an address book? Do you replace it regularly or does it become ratty like mine? Maybe you've gone totally digital and keep it with your email software. I have a few of those, too, but it's less intimate. More business.
I wish you all the best in the upcoming New Year!