On January 1, 2015 I started the Happiness Jar Project which was inspired by a writer and person I admire, Elizabeth Gilbert. Here’s the link to my blog post about it here.
It’s taken me many, many years to finally come to the conclusion I suck at New Year’s resolutions. If I utter the words “My New Year’s resolution is …” on December 31 of any given year, I can guarantee that the project or dream will crash and burn spectacularly. So I made the decision to enter 2015 differently and by doing so, the promise to myself has been a lot easier to sustain because it has been fun. All it required was an empty jar, a pen, and some sticky notes.
I started the year off with a bang and wrote down one good thing from each day but, as life has the habit of doing, things got crazy busy so I took to only writing the bigger moments of happiness. I did, however, also remember to note the quieter moments when a feeling of gratitude sneaks up out of nowhere and overwhelms you. Those, to me, are the most precious moments of all.
Of course, the year had quite a few downs, as is the case of being human but as I am a glass-half-full kinda gal, I choose to focus on the positive. Even if it means finding an elusive silver lining out of a difficult or upsetting situation. If I learn from the experience, then that, for me, is something positive.
What I did find was friends often asked to contribute to the Happiness Jar. It sat proudly in the middle of the dining table so it ended up being a topic of conversation when visitors arrived. I’d hand over the paper and pen and they’d write down their happy thought then pop it in the jar. My children also got in on the act. It warmed my heart to see my two kids embrace the spirit of the Happiness Jar. I never asked other contributors what they wrote as I wanted to be surprised when the jar was finally opened. I’m so glad that I managed to quiet that curious cat inside me.
So how did 2015 pan out for me in terms of happiness? Thankfully, I can say that it has been a very good year. My family are happy, healthy, enjoying life and learning every day and really, I couldn’t ask for more.
Here are a handful of highlights randomly drawn from the jar:
Me: Spending the whole day at the National Gallery of Australia and gaining special access to Ballets Russes artefacts to research my ballet book.
Me: I love watching Master Seven working hard at gymnastics and making new friends. He has found his tribe.
Me: Amazing school reports for both kids. We are so very proud of our kids for trying so hard and discovering the joys of learning.
From a 7yo family friend: What makes me happy is coming over to this house and always being welcome.
Me: So very happy for my best friend who is now in extremely good health after a long and turbulent battle with cancer. She also just got her dream job – woo hoo!
Me: I love listening to Miss Nine sing – she sounds like an angel. Watching her face light up when she sings and the joy it brings to other people makes my heart melt.
Master Seven: I am class captain!
Miss Nine: I started tennis and totally enjoyed it!
Me: So very proud of my partner for all his achievements. I also love that his version of a romantic Valentine’s Day date is sharing a bottle of wine and watching The Walking Dead.
Me: I am so grateful to have found my passion–writing books–and to share this with people the world over. I love the comrarderie of my fellow authors and I love meeting and hearing from readers. I am truly grateful for entering the world of books and for being welcomed by so many.
And so begins 2016 with the whole family each adding a note to the jar.
These are just a snippet into the contents of the jar. As the family opened up the notes we laughed and had a lovely time sharing memories. For me, this act was yet another moment in time that needs to go into the Happiness Jar. I’ll save that as my first entry for 2016. Oh yes, I’ll be doing this again! What about you? Have you ever thought about a Happiness Jar? Do you have some other way to record the events of your year? Or do you happily go from one year to the next without recording memories? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
And to all my wonderful blog readers–new and old–I hope 2016 brings you all the love, happiness, and joy you could wish for.