The inception of Grateful Days begins in high school, when a career counselor came to speak to my junior class to help us decide what our plans were after graduation. Like the majority of other sixteen year olds, I was still coming to terms with who I was, who I would be, what I would accomplish and what my strengths and weaknesses were. These are big questions to ask yourself at such a young age and unfortunately, I did not find the answers to those questions through one assembly, so I kept searching. I met with coaches, counselors, teachers searching high and low until I was asked one seemingly absurd question: “When you’re working on a group project, what part do you take control of?” When I heard that question, I immediately knew the answer. I am the planner and the coordinator; I find comfort in the known. That is who I am.
During this discovery period, I put too much focus into the details and the immediate future. This caused me to lose clarity as to what makes me who I am. This disparity is how I discovered that it is just as important to nurture and embrace the qualitative aspects of a person. I needed to organize my time diligently while being constantly reminded of the myriad of people, memories and lessons that drive me fundamentally.
Now, five years later, I have created the Grateful Days planner to be the marriage of these prodigious lessons. Permeating the planner are areas meant to bring out creativity and personality while fostering elements that make me who I am. These elements are exemplified in the details of the planner. A few examples include the font, which I created using my mother’s handwriting; the areas for coloring in, which are made up of sketches depicting things which are important to my life; and the reflection areas, which are based on questions I ask myself to keep sight of the big picture.
In much the same way that a single day is a conglomeration of tasks, events and thoughts, this planner is a conglomeration of pieces that make up who I am. It’s a manifestation of the ‘gears’ and pieces that come together to make a day, week, month, year and a lifetime. No two people will have the exact same pieces that make up who they are, but the calendar changes very little from year to year. With this in mind, I made an effort to investigate the makeup of a day and follow the same format to underpin normalcy and consistency in the short-term. This planner is meant to be a living work that not only highlights the day-to-day, but the things that make each person unique.
This planner is a blank slate; a canvas made for each user to paint a picture of the past, present and future while fostering cognizance of how the details, both grand and minute, come together to make us who we are and drive our every action.
© 2019 Ashley Crooks, Some Rights Reserved
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book art, illustration