jam jar

The Memory Jar

I’ll keep this brief, because I imagine that by now you have seen enough “end of year” posts to last you until… well, next year. But I can’t let the end of a year slide past without mention (and let’s gloss over how I’ve basically let the last two months go without comment, shall we?).

It’s been an interesting year, both for good and for less-good. I learned some things: some have made my life better, some… let’s just say I wish learning them hadn’t been as painful as it was. But you can’t ask for joy without accepting a little sadness, and that was what I really hoped for this year. I dreamed of bonfires and magic and stars and joy – and by and large, that’s what I found.

jar of happy memories

On New Year’s Day, I sat this jam jar on the windowsill in our kitchen. It was empty, except for a bright green post-it note inside explaining that this was the “Good Things Jar”, reminding me to write the things that made me happy over the year on slips of paper and drop them in, to be read on New Year’s Eve. Looking at it now, I’m not sure I could fit many more in. I remember some of them anyway – the big things that you don’t forget – but the rest are a question, waiting to be answered tonight when I unfold the pieces of paper.

What would a “Bad Things” jar have looked like, I wonder? Would it have been as full? Maybe. Maybe not. The point is, I don’t care. Happiness can come from the smallest places as well as the bigger ones. We find joy where we look for it – and that’s what I wanted to do. To look. To notice. Not to simply pass it by. And as the year dies, to remember.

When I get up tomorrow morning, there will be a jam jar sitting on the kitchen windowsill. Empty of paper, but full of promise. Because that’s what New Year is all about.

I usually end each year with a song (not mine, don’t panic), and I thought I had this year’s one all picked out. I did, in fact, right until I sat down at my computer to type… and then it changed. Because suddenly, I can’t think of any better way to wind up the year than with this.

So may your New Year be full of hope, and may everything that follows be all that you could ever dream. And when New Year’s Eve rolls around again, may your jam jars be overflowing.

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