First of all, I have a calendar in my phone and several in my computer. So, right off, we can agree there is no need for a calendar at my desk, plus 2 others on the walls of my home-office. There are others at the back door, in the breakfast nook and the kitchen, on the fireplace mantle, and on my bureau in our bedroom. Eight, non-electric calendars in a house occupied by two people and a dog.

This didn’t matter until today, when I recalled the home of an elderly neighbor from my childhood. Sitting bored, waiting for her fabulous cookies to cool enough to be eaten, I noticed all the calendars. From my spot in the kitchen, I counted six or seven. They were mostly advertising ones. You know, from the hardware store, insurance company, gas station, S & H Green Stamps, etc.

Hadn’t thought of that in years, but thinking of it now, I am struck that I have even more than she did! How old was she anyway? Seemed like she was too old to live. She smelt like an old person and the house smelt like an old person’s house, except for the cookies.

Most of our calendars are advertising ones, too: Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, insurance company, the hardware store, attorney, etc. Plus, 3 bird-a-day calendars. Hmmm.

So, when did putting up all the calendars that arrive become a good idea? It used to be we sifted through the freebees and most went in the trash. Back then, we’d go out in January (after calendars went on 2-for-1 sale) and buy a couple we liked, usually of exotic places we were going to or had just visited. Not anymore. Now, we just put up whatever arrives. Apparently, however many arrive, too.

I suspect it all started with the bird-a-days. They come in a plastic stand and each day is another beautiful photo. Half way through the year, you turn the stack around to view the rest. One each day, with the month, day and date on the page above the new bird.

Well, at the end of the year, we couldn’t throw out all those beautiful pictures. So, we bought a new one and continued to enjoy the old one as well. Except it’s off. The date might be the 5th, but it isn’t really Tuesday; it’s Thursday or Sunday. I’m never sure which.

The next year we kept the second one, and bought a third. By the end of that year, I surrendered. No more of these blasted bird-a-days. There are too many around the house, all with different dates and days, but none of them quite right. We had to do something.

Well, that decision was naturally made in January. We had 3 complete bird-a-day calendars which were all partly correct. There was a pile of free calendars that had come in the mail over the holidays. Why not put them up? So, we did. And we continue to. Our willingness to put up calendars seems limited only by what we are supplied for free. They are pretty, mostly. Why not have them all up?

Which brings us back to that old neighbor and a question I must ask. Is this something older people tend to do? I’ve taken to counting the calendars when visiting friends, but it isn’t scientific, as I can’t check all their rooms. Maybe they have extras in the bedroom or study. Perhaps they’re all in the garage or basement.

I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing this many calendars with nearly half obsolete is an indicator I’m not getting any younger.

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About the author

Scott Funk has specialized in Home Equity Conversion Mortgage reverse mortgages for over a decade. He is a recognized Aging in Place advocate in his home state of Vermont. His monthly newspaper column Aging in Place has run for 7 years in 24 papers around the state. Scott is brings a lighthearted approach to his talks on Boomers, retirement and aging on purpose.