Sometime in December I saw a post going around Facebook that really resonated with me. There was a photo of a mason jar full of scraps of paper; the caption said: “This January, why not start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen. Then, on New Year’s Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened that year.”
After a couple of decades in the newspaper business I tend to be cynical and skeptical about a lot of things. I am lousy at keeping a journal, even on a holiday, and I don’t subscribe to New Year’s resolutions.
I thought starting a “positive thoughts” jar would be a stellar way to greet 2013. My goal was to write a positive thought per day, but not beat myself up if I missed a day. Or three.
I grabbed a mason jar from my bookshelf that I had been saving for sand collected from various trips. I decided not to decorate it, but leave the glass clear so I could see the jar filling with notes as inspiration. I cut up small pieces of blank paper and placed them with a pen beside the jar, and have left it on my kitchen table in plain view. No excuses for “forgetting” to write a positive thought, because it’s right there.
(I appreciate my husband’s tolerance of my jar of positive thoughts on the kitchen table; I am a piler, and he puts up with a lot.)
I found another post (gotta love Facebook for inspiration) that says “think positive & positive things will happen”; I printed it, cut it out and glued it to the top of my jar as a reminder. I have another, as well: “Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.”
How true. Take, for instance, the day that started when I stepped in cat feces, tracking it halfway across the upstairs hallway before realizing what it was.
That was just before the second migraine in two days set in, behind my eyeballs, with a heavy workload to look forward to.
The final straw was discovering, after an extremely long shift, that a page I had designed a week earlier had been accidentally overwritten. I really thought I’d had my first day without finding one positive, redeeming thing happening.
I dragged myself into bed, first picking up a random magazine so I could read for a few minutes and relax before turning off the light. There, in big pink letters on the front cover, were the words, “Make today happier”.
I laughed and laughed! Suddenly, cat poop, headaches and missing pages seemed so inconsequential. I had found my silver lining.
I’m not sure where this project will take me over the next few months, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m already learning something: I’m finding my happiest most positive moments outside of the office. It’s helping to underline something I so easily forget in the throes of deadlines, that while my career is still fulfilling after all these years, work isn’t everything.
I will leave you with another Facebook post, this one from my sister Lori’s wall:
“Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive, because your words become your behaviour.
Keep your behaviour positive, because your behaviour becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
I’ve already added this saying to my jar of positive thoughts.