An Open Jar

Thursday, January 2, 2014 / 6:30 AM

I mentioned before that I started filling a jar with positive thoughts last year in hopes I would stuff it so full with paper that it would explode with joy when I opened it to read in 2014.

Of course, as I also mentioned, I was terrible last year at finishing personal projects. I'm one of those people who buy journals and diaries and puts it down in ink that I'll write "every day," only to abandon it three pages later. It's horrible, and something I know I need to change.

But in the meantime, it is 2014 and time to open this jar to see what happiness the first half of the year brought, despite that feeling of discontent that permeated much of January through May.

In the dozens and dozens of notes, the most common theme seems to be gratitude--for people, for places, for the moments in life that remind me why I'm here.

01.04.13: Listened to these guys with accents on the train earlier planning their NY sightseeing weekend and it struck me: I live here.

Looking back on all of these memories produced both laughs and frowns. It was only 363 days ago I wrote, "First McSorley's drink of the year with [person whose name I will leave out]!" and 360 days ago I wrote, "Having a friend like [that same person], an incredible person who I'm lucky to have in my life." And now, we don't speak.

Then there's the love--the notes that end with hearts and smiley faces: friends who sent lengthy emails even if I took ages to respond; friends who visited from across the country and from upstate; colleagues who were more supportive of my ambitions than I probably deserved; trying to name all 50 states from memory with Michael at Shake Shack and forgetting about Indiana. (Sorry, Indiana-ites.)

via Michael's Instagram
And the notes tinged with sadness: "There's nothing like spending time with people who know you," I wrote, after a May trip to Albuquerque.

I spent much of my time reading these notes and re-envisioning the moments in my head (the crepe place Sarah and I went to for my birthday, the ramen place Diane and I waited an hour in the freezing cold for...), but then also thinking about the things that could have easily been placed in the jar that I didn't write down (like reuniting with Jason and Robyn and the kids in D.C., or having a friend like Minerva who would've dumped a liquid on a boy's head on my behalf if I had let her).

Of course, the last note I put in the jar last year was:

07.05.13: Working a regular schedule again! Love my new job.
As life would have it, things change--and of course the key is to continue pushing forward. Last night, a friend was explaining his new job to me and said the exact words I found myself thinking every day since graduating: "I don't want to just 'do a job.' I want to be passionate about what I'm doing, too."

I don't know if I'll load up this jar in 2014. It wouldn't hurt to try. But I think I needed it more at the start of last year than I do now. Last year I was trying to find my voice after feeling like I've lost it; now, I feel like I've re-discovered it, and am finally using it--for all the right reasons.

01.02.13: "It doesn't have to be a 'good 2013.' It can be a great chapter in your life." -Pastor Carl
Here's to another chapter. Cheers!

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