When we were in high school, we had to keep a diary and fill it with anything that has happened in a day. We also had to write down our schedule for tomorrow. Then everyday our class adviser will collect it and check the entries. If there’s something “rebellious” written there, you’re surely going to get an unexpected visit from your personal formation tutor, which is not really a bad thing ;). During those times, it felt more as a homework rather than a tool to teach us time management.
Nowadays, I no longer carry a diary with me, I have my iPhone’s WordPress app for that. I bring a pad instead, not an iPad nor any electronic pad. It’s more of a sketchpad I guess. It’s doesn’t have the horizontal guidelines that a typical notepad has. It feels freer writing in a paper that doesn’t have lines. You can write, you can draw or scribble anything.
An empty pad is like a tabula rasa. I fill it up with ideas which spring up when inspiration strikes me. And oftentimes it hits me during unexpected moments at unexpected places. I remember when I sketched a home gardening setup, I was having a quick break from programming. Out of the blue, disconnected to the algorithms running in my mind , I came up with a solution of recycling plastic bottles and installing a DIY space-saver garden in your backyard (or frontyard).
So why do I keep an empty pad? Because it’s a reflection of life where everything starts from blank. It is a reminder that I can live life unrestricted, where there are no horizontal line that needs to be followed.