It’s the small moments that make a life special
The Happiness Jar is Launched
I first saw the idea for a happiness jar on Facebook, and loved the notion of the family writing down the little things that make them happy each week, so we could reflect on them in the New Year.
Life is so busy that it passes in a flash of colour and motion. It’s easy to remember the huge events that shape us, like the release of my first book in February, but sometimes we forget about the small kindnesses, or secret triumphs that make us smile each day.
So… at the beginning of 2015 I turned a pretty glass jar I received as a Christmas present, into a vessel to capture memories throughout the year. The children really enjoyed this activity too, although we became lax towards the end of the year.
Of course, there were some rotten things that happened last year, but we didn’t focus on those. We made sure the things that make us happy on a daily basis went in the jar, and those things are different for each of us.
When I was a child I used to puff the fine seeds from a dandelion and make a wish. It's amazing how many of those dreams have become a reality over the years.
On 2nd January 2016, the family sat down to a delicious dinner of salmon steaks with jasmine rice and vegetables, and took turns in taking a sunny yellow piece of paper from the jar and reading it aloud.
This is what we found…
Naturally my teenage sons were most impressed by triumphs on or new games for their game consoles, and a lot of my highlights were literature related, but there were some surprises too, like:
* We all enjoyed family outings, but from a different perspective, and chilling during long weekends, and hanging out with our friends rated high on the ‘happy meter’.
* People also mentioned how much they appreciated one another, or how another member of the family inspired them.
* There were some awesome sporting achievements in high jump, soccer and swimming.
* The children really loved having exciting birthday parties and appreciated the effort I put into making spectacular birthday cakes.
* A school camp at the beginning of the year was an action-packed learning adventure.
* Catching up with friends who have moved interstate.
* Being thrilled to see our dog after we’ve been away on holidays.
* Hubby was extremely excited when we finally pulled down the rusting above-ground pool to make way for a new shed.
* Enjoying the elaborate Christmas light in our street.
Some other highlights for me were:
* Doing author talks, local art events, and a radio interview, and all of the fabulous people I met along the way.
* Taking a sick friend who doesn’t have a lot of money, out to a movie and lunch. We also did some window shopping in the expensive part of town.
* Swimming with dolphins in Western Australia.
* The support and friendship I receive from the Novelist’s Circle critiquing group.
* Self improvement through public speaking at Toastmasters.
* Wine tasting (lets face it, living in a wine region means I’m spoilt for choice).
* Missing the family members we’ve lost, but being able to smile at the good times we shared.
* Seeing the historic organ rise from the floor and play incredible tunes at the Capri Cinema.
* A tour of the Haigh’s chocolate factory in Adelaide, which of course involved some taste-testing and a rather large bag of goodies to take home.
* A meet and greet with one of my favourite bands, Seether. I even got to chat and have a photo with the members.
* A day at the Myponga Gun Club with the South Australian Romance Authors group. All in the name of research of course!
Reflecting on the year that was and being thankful for everything we have, was a great experience for my family. We’ll definitely be keeping the Happiness Jar going in 2016.
I don’t like to make new year’s resolutions, because I hate to feel I’ve failed. Instead I have dreams (lots of them) and I make small goals to work towards them. They include personal improvement, literary and family oriented goals, but I’ll make time to ‘smell the roses’ along the way too.
I hope you all had a successful 2015, and even if it contained heartache or illness or loss, that you also managed to appreciate the sunsets and friends and dream a little.
Do you have a different way of reflecting on the past year?
What was your most precious memory for last year?
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