Last January I placed an empty square glass vase on a side table in our living room. Next to it I stacked a small pile of colorful note cards and a pen. Then, after taking a deep breath and hoping not to sound too corny, I announced to my husband and daughter, “This is our happiness jar.”
“Our what?” my daughter asked, head cocked.
“Our happiness jar,” I repeated as if everybody had one.
My husband and daughter looked at each other with raised eyebrows and said, “OoooKaaay,” as if trying to appease a mentally unstable person.
I laughed at their response, but continued with resolve, “Any time something good happens–something that makes us happy or proud or grateful, I want us to write it down and put it in this jar. Then at the end of the year we can look back and be reminded of how lucky we are. I thought it would be a fun tradition to read all our notes on New Year’s Eve and remember all the great things we’ve experienced.”
With that, I sauntered out of the room, sensing I would be the only one writing down memories for our happiness jar.
Much to my surprise, when I returned later that evening, I discovered two notes already placed in the jar. Happiness instantly washed over me knowing my peeps already felt grateful enough to write something down to put in it.
As you can see, after more than ten months, our happiness is beginning to runneth over. Most of the things I’ve written have not been life-changing events, but rather small moments of sweetness found in an average day. A personal record in a 5K race, receiving a hand-written letter in the mail from a friend, seeing Olivia dance on stage, Jeffrey completing another part of his art project. Friends have even added their notes to our happiness jar, which makes it all the more special.
I share this with you during this month of Thanksgiving, not to get all “Oprah” on you, but in hopes of inspiring you to revel in all of life’s good moments, big and small, and to celebrate gratitude.
God knows we’re inundated with enough bad news every day; it’s important to be reminded that the good far outweighs the bad. A happiness jar does just that, capturing glimmers of everything that is right in your life, making you feel grateful rather than worn down by anger and cynicism.
It’s funny, I don’t even have to read what’s inside our jar to get an instant boost. Just glancing at all the colorful notes makes me feel like I’ve taken a happy pill.
Do you have a special way you celebrate gratitude? I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment.
©2013 Becky Green Aaronson The Art of an Improbable Life