Here’s what 365 (366 actually, 2016 was a leap year) days of happiness jar look like.
At the beginning of last year, I had just read about Elizabeth Gilbert’s happiness jar, so I decided to make it my 2016 new year resolution.
I proved myself pretty good at sticking to resolutions, at this one at least, so while some days I wrote nothing and some other days I took several notes, in the end, few hundreds of happy moments were recorded.
Some days ago, on the first days of 2017, proud of my achievement, I couldn’t resist and went through some of them.
How was in my year, then? Which moments have I captured inside my jar?
There have been days started like crap, then enlightened by that belly laugh that bursts out of nowhere for some silly reason, there have been moments of human warmth shared with the boy I’ve been fancying, there have been days filled with anxiety when the greatest comfort came from the home-made pizza baked for me by my mum, there have been few personal bests for me running longer and faster than before, there’s been an uncle passing away and the rest of the family united in a big hug, there’s been me daring to paint my nails red for the first time of my life, there have been travels in beautiful places, there have been words of comfort coming from colleagues who understood my worries, there’s been rage heating up my chest that I mindfully decided to feel and observe as it came and dissolved, there’s been the project of completing my new house refurbishing and moving there all by myself finally accomplished, there’s been myself not only surviving but actually thriving during a couple of office meetings that scared the hell out of me, there have been courses I attended all by myself in which I learnt so much, there have been two new friends who became my new running mates. And there is been so much more.
Being the rational-analytical-perfectionist that I am, I couldn’t resist trying to figure out what the happiest moments of my year had in common, maybe also to understand if this whole happiness-jar experience can bring me some interesting insight.
So here are the 5 things my first happiness jar has taught me:
While going through my little treasure of colorful paper and fast handwriting, I soon realized that I had forgotten many of those happy events. If I had to list them without reading at my little sheets, I would have failed to recall so many of them. But as soon as I read the first words of each piece of paper, I immediately recalled the moment, the place, the colors, the sounds, the smells of those memories. As well as pain and suffering, happy moments stick in our body too. They are probably just quieter as they settle in some corner of our mind and rest there waiting to be recalled. We all know that little boy who sits shy and quiet on the bench during a football match, who’s casually called in by the coach just because he’s out of options and then scores two goals saving the day. Well, I like to think of good memories as that shy kid: they both have great potential, we just need them to give the right chances.
When I woke up on each of those mornings, I had no idea about which was going to be the event I would be grateful for at the end of the day. Most probably, should you have asked me, on several of those mornings, I would have told you that nothing to be happy about was going to happen, that such a shitty day was going to end up even shittier. Yes, I’m not exactly a morning person.
All of those happy moments came along as a surprise, they all happened regardless my previsions and sometimes even despite them.
There are a lot of people named in my sheets. The number of people that contributed to giving me moments to be grateful for is greater than I could have expected. There are my family members for sure, there are my closest friends, there’s the guy I’ve been fancying all year and then, there are some colleagues I wouldn’t expect to find in my list, there are relatives I hadn’t seen for ages, there are strangers I crossed my path with once and that I’ll probably never meet again, there are children that smiled back at me for no other reason than the miraculous joy they naturally bring within themselves, there are people I met while travelling. In other words, there are a lot of human beings, because – my introverted self has to admit it – moments to be grateful for are fed by personal relationships.
Many of my happy moments begin with “Despite a lame week”, “Even though this is a tough period”, “After a rough day”. As you can see, I’m not the kind of girl who likes to paint it all pink and pretend everything is going fine. My happiness jar testifies that I’ve had my share of pain in the neck, my share of tough moments and crappy days, but still good times happened. Light always got back into bad days. No matter how cold the winter, spring never fails to show up again.
My happiness jar hosts a wide range when it comes to the amount of joy and satisfaction that each moment brought. There are moments that gave me a laugh, moments that warmed my heart, events that gave me hope and events that made me feel strong, moments that made me proud and moments that changed my life. If I have a look at those that gave me the strongest emotions, though, they are very often related to limits being overcome. The message I didn’t think I could ever send, the speech I didn’t think I could ever give, the house I didn’t think I was strong enough to move to. The taste of the mixed joy, pride and satisfaction that comes from that message being sent, that speech being given, the relocation being accomplished, is worth the work, the fear and the sleepless nights.
Here I am, at the beginning of a new year, picking one little sheet after the other, smiling at good memories of the year that’s just gone, proud of my achievements and grateful for each day. I’ll do it again next year and I recommend you the same.
If you’ve stumbled upon this page and reached the bottom of it, you’ve just made me happy, but if you really wish to make me thrilled and proud, please feel free to leave a comment here below. I’d love to read your feedback, suggestions, opinions of any kind (and I’d love to reply to them too). Come on, just scroll down a little bit… 🙂