I’m not sure how or when it happened, but 2016 got a bad rep. We had some startling moments for sure and lots of things we didn’t expect happened. Some were personal and others were in the public eye. It seems the public drags on happiness can be overwhelming. For me, I have to admit the deaths of celebrities I grew up with left a mark — seeing Prince’s Purple Rain tour was the first concert I went to with friends. So I think a lot of us lost track of all the good things that happened in 2016.
But at the start of 2016, I started a new tradition. Throughout the year, I would put notes of joy in a jar thanks to my cousin Jon-Eric suggesting it and seeing my friend Cheryl’s blog post about her memory jar.
I have to say that when I started it on January 1, I wasn’t too sure I’d keep it up. I decided to put the jar in a really obvious place in my house so I’d see it regularly. Alongside the jar, I placed a note pad and a pen to encourage me to write things down regularly. As I sit here on New Year’s Eve, I can look through various points throughout the year that brought me great joy, meant new experiences or that I am proud of… the memories I wanted to stick with me for 2016.
Given that 2016 had so many challenges broadcast into my home so often, I’ve decided it will be a new tradition for me. It is an easy way to take charge of what stands out from each year, a way to capture happy moments to seal them as happy memories.
Some of the things I captured were really small moments while others were major milestones, some deeply personal and others were shared. It was done just for me and I have loved looking back through the notes today.
There were moments with family and friends marking birthdays, celebrating engagements and weddings, great trips, accomplishments at work, etc but I also made notes of some of the casual meals with friends I had and things people said that I wanted to remember.
It was really a good way to celebrate the year that I want to remember. So, I’m taking note and getting ready for a return in 2017! I have some ideas for making this better though so I thought I’d share.
Tips on Making & Using a Memory Jar
- Get a jar, pen and paper. I used a quart jar that I emptied from my pantry and wondered if it would always look so empty but was surprised how full it became. I kept a pad of paper, usually having some small pieces cut there. And a good pen was always handy.
- Keep the jar, pen & paper in your line of vision & movement. Strategically positioned it was on the top ledge of the staircase so I’d see it when I went between the kitchen and living room.
- Develop a bit of a routine. For me, it was helpful to stop and write a few things down at the end of the trip. When you walk by and can’t remember what you’ve written recently, stand there and prod you mind for highlights from the last week or two. Even if you find something written down twice, that’s good.
- Writing a couple extra words can really trigger your mind. Really different to say you visited friends than to remind yourself you went there to help them on a project and they fixed a favorite meal you miss terribly!
- Consider putting the month/day on it. I put dates on some… think I’ll do that with more. It’s amazing how mixed up they were as I pulled them out to read them!
- Just do it. I really am glad I didn’t over think it.
Have you ever done this or something else to help you capture the good? Ideas that I should consider to make the 2017 capture better?
A Few Posts from 2016 covering Topics in my Memory Jar
- A couple of great opera moments! First Time Watching the Metropolitan Opera Live Stream and A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opera Experience in Prague
- Celebrating holidays. Welcoming the Year of the Monkey / Chinese New Year 2016
- Interviews on friend’s podcasts. Personal Branding Talk on WORK IT with The Cubicle Chick and That Time I Was Interviewed on Marketing Smarts Podcast
- My mom retired. My Mom’s Career Taught Us Lots of Life Lessons
- The container garden that rocked my summer — Late Summer Means Lots of Peppers in My Backyard Garden and In Search of the Perfect Tomato
- My favorite crop of course! Capturing the Light of Cotton Fields at Sunset — Photo Post
- My trip to Prague and Budapest. How I Ended Up in Budapest for My Birthday (Video) and A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opera Experience in Prague