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Back to School shopping was always fun when I was a kid, and even today I still fondly remember the excitement of picking out new pens, pencils and notebooks. Now, as an adult when I look back at those seemingly archaic items and how excited I was about getting them, I cant help but question whether the excitement was just because of the fact that I got to have “new stuff” or were these stationery items really just that cool for the time period I was growing up in?
If I force myself to answer that question, I’d have to say that, these products really were some of the best and coolest out there, even as I sit here looking at them thinking to myself “how did I ever get by with that stuff?” Part of the reason I think these were some of the best products available is because many of them are still available in almost the same exact form today. It doesn’t take much looking around to find the Bic 4 color multi pen, the Bic stick pen with the blue cap, the Pilot Precise line of liquid ink pens or the classic Five Star notebooks with plastic covers.
Now as an adult with my school years long behind me, I get to use lots of even more cool and innovative stationery products, but I feel like something is missing. It is hard to imagine anything could be missing though when I’m lucky enough to have such awesome products like my Uniball Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil, Sharpie Pen, Lamy Studio fountain pen, and Levenger Circa notebooks to help keep me organized and performing at the highest level possible at work. So it got me thinking, what was missing?
As I contemplated what could possibly be missing from my completely lavish stash of stationery products, I realized it didn’t have anything to do with the products themselves, it had everything to do with the process of buying them and what it all meant. It dawned on me that there is no longer a ritualistic stockpiling of an arsenal of unsharpened pencils, pristine notebooks and never opened packages of pens. There is instead a slow steady accumulation of “stuff” over time on more of an as needed basis. As an adult you don’t have that “clean slate” that you start with from year to year that is signified by your new stash of supplies.
Now that I’ve realized what it is thats missing, it surprises me that none of the major office supply stores have tried to generate some sort of “Back to Work” shopping season for us adults. Now sure it would be hard to do because there is no real “season” since we all start and end our employment on different schedules, however I think I might at least try and do this for myself to instill that “clean slate” feeling for my work year. Maybe if I save the majority of my office supply shopping for January of each year I’ll have my own personal little “back to school” feeling about things. Regardless of how I go about it though, one thing is for sure, and that is that I’ll probably spend way too much money on new office supplies, and a few years from now I’ll look back at how I ever managed to get anything done with these archaic tools.