At the beginning of 2014, I read an article by Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things. She suggested keeping a happiness jar for the year. Basically, you start with an empty jar and put into it a note of anything that makes you happy or grateful during the year. I always have a daily positive thinking calendar, so used the back of the used pages for my notes.
I was busy running a New Year’s Day celebration on 1 January 2015, but was itching to open my happiness jar. There were fifty three notes in the container and an analysis shows that four categories of things make me happy – Achievement – 15, Family Time – 15, Health – 10 and Writing – 13. This is fascinating.
In my Achievement category, eight notes relate to my personal achievements, mainly to do with my swimming lessons (jumping in, swimming a length of proper breast stroke, spending time in the deep end of the pool) and writing, but one covers learning to use loom bands and another my love of selling jewellery at the school fete. The one, which will probably make you laugh, is my joy at learning the roll on method of putting on a quilt cover – almost as exciting as learning how to fold a fitted sheet!
Most of the other notes in the Achievement category relate to little son – progress and prizes at school, settling into secondary school and cooking a Victoria sandwich cake from a recipe without any help.
The final note in this group relates to the publication of Janice Preston’s debut novel, Mary and the Marquis. I was so proud of her.
Family Time covers lovely holidays and days out. New Year’s Day and Christmas Day celebrations. This group emphasises to me how lucky I am to have a lovely family.
The Health category covers the health of family members and myself. My joy that little son’s knee cap wasn’t broken after a fall at school (the casualty nurse suspected it was before the x-ray). The sigh of relief when big son’s suspect mole was okay. The miracle that my hubbie didn’t suffer serious injury after a fall down fourteen tube station steps in London. My minor operation that wasn’t as bad as I’d feared.
Considering that I nearly gave up writing in 2014, the Writing category relates solely to me. It covers my joy at completing the NaNoWriMo writing challenge to complete 50,000 words in November, the writing courses and events I’ve attended and enjoyed – including the RNA conference, a Sue Moorcroft course, an Alison May course. Having an uplifting Twitter conversation with the lovely Iona Grey. Finishing my novel to send to the RNA New Writers’ Scheme and then a later note celebrating the positive comments on that manuscript. The amazing appearance on the charity book stall in Sainsbury’s of a book on the very subject covered by my work in progress – a clear sign I was not meant to give up writing. The encouragement and fun provided by a small group of writers in my local area who meet to beat the doubt crows.
I could go on, but don’t want to bore you. I have found the process of keeping and analysing a happiness jar, very uplifting and, needless to say, I have started one for 2015 already. I recommend the process to you.