On 1st January last year we started a Happy Jar. We’d tried before in years gone by and never really made it past more than a couple of weeks before forgetting all about it, but this time I was absolutely determined to keep it going for the whole year. And so, as the months sped past, any time any of us felt really happy about something (a day trip, an achievement, time spent together as a family, looking forward to something special…), we’ve written it down on a little piece of paper and popped it into the jar that sits on our kitchen side. Slowly, week by week, the jar filled up, layer upon layer of happy moments nestling comfortably together.
Admittedly it did tail off a little bit towards the last quarter of 2016 – the depression I’ve struggled with on and off over the last two decades resurfaced for a short while and my low patch coincided with a downturn in my husband’s mood, which of course unavoidably impacted on us as a family as a whole. The last few months have felt a bit like survival to be honest and I think both of us have just been aiming to get through the days. I’ve kept up with my #projecthappy posts – shooting daily to capture a moment of joy – but writing anything more down seemed like too big an ask at times. Don’t get me wrong, things haven’t been terrible by any means, and there were many, many happy moments for sure, it’s just that remembering to make a note of them was a bit beyond us at times.
New Year tends to be a pretty quiet affair in our house. The husband is always at work making sure that everyone who is out partying has a good time and the girls are in bed, so I tend to watch the countdown and fireworks on the TV and then go to bed. As the girls get older I’ve no doubt that they’ll start staying up later with me/us and seeing in the new year properly and I’m quite looking forward to it as we can make it into a proper celebration.
This year I was able to make it a bit more special than usual though because we had our happy jar to open! So on New Years Eve the girls and I snuggled up together on Ella’s bed and one by one we read all of the happy moments and special memories that we’d collected over the last twelve months. Some got repeated several times – Sophie coming to visit us was a popular one. Likewise, the girls’ grandparents coming to visit made a few appearances and everyone agreed that our holiday in Jersey was brilliant – we all wrote that one down!
Some of my favourites from the rest of them were:
“I’m happy that it snowed”
“I love my family”
“I’m happy that I told Mummy what I was worrying about”
“I am happy that we got Pumpkin because I love him”
“I’m happy that I got chosen to go to Rowley Park for the athletics competition”
“I am happy that I have made a new friend”
It was a really lovely thing to do together and I absolutely loved looking back at everything we’d done over the year and what things meant the most to each of us. We reminisced over holidays we’d been on and giggled over funny things the girls had said and done. We were even surprised a few times as we’d forgotten all about some of the things we’d written down! It was interesting which things had stuck out in the girls minds as being special – they were all so different from each other. I’m going to keep all the little pieces of paper from each year in an envelope and give them to the girls when they’re older so they can look back and remember all the memories we made.
We started adding things to 2017’s Happy Jar on New Year’s Day. I’m already looking forward to filling it up with happy memories of awesome experiences, loving moments, fun stuff we get up to and cool places that we visit. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good year 🙂