Popularized by Elizabeth Gilbert in 2013, it was the year I really wanted to make a Happiness Jar. I had my trendy mason jar, the little tag, all the meticulously cut pieces of paper, it was all very pretty and Pinterest-worthy, and colour coordinated with my living room (which was living room, office, kitchen and dining room) in the town house. January 2013 opened with the stunning realization that I had replaced one toxic relationship with another. I was bereft after so much mindful, conscious work combined with brutal personal assessment and studying only to realize that as far as I had gone, I was still making disastrous habitual choices. I felt there was no way for me to find personal happiness and perhaps I didn’t deserve it.
2013 started big and stayed big. January had Claire in boarding, re-applying to Universities and her prom dress arrived and prep began six months early; Cole was learning how to drive, played Perchik in the school production of Fiddler on the Roof and had a disaster of a girlfriend; Chloé was taking acting lessons in downtown Toronto and dealing with mean-spirited middle school brats, er, “the popular” kids; and, Caden was just settling into his first year at school with his siblings and doing his best on the swim team. You would think that with all four kids in the same school, things would have been easier, it was not.
It came down to too many things to do. Focusing on my personal happiness in a Pinterest-worthy or trendy way was simply not going to happen. I had to focus on my own personal happiness in a more constructive, dig deeper, set boundaries way.
While focusing on finding some small hint of happiness, I forgot about the jar altogether.
How I wish I had filled that jar! Through that year of profound sadness I grew so much. I recently found the empty jar when cleaning out a few boxes. I’m four years late, but I figure 2017 is as good a year as any to dwell in my resounding sense of happiness, and if I’m lucky, the occasional hit of pure joy. In those four years I learned a lot of things but one that stands out is that, like everyone, I deserve happiness. This jar will simply be a way for me to keep track of it! I hope to open it, and read each card, on New Year’s Eve as a bright and positive start to 2018.
I bought a new jar – it’s HUGE (2 gallons/7.6L) – which totally reflects my enthusiasm and expectation for the year ahead. I bought a pack of flat white cards that will be inserted into card sleeves. On the card sleeve I will use the stamp to record the date. Ideally I will have 365 cards in the jar by the end of 2017. I bought 500 cards and sleeves in hope of using all of them!
The jar is on my altar in the family room which is fully visible. This is in an effort to remind me to find my happiness at the end of the day when I settle in to watch television or read.
What about you? How do you record your happiness?