A Trip through 2020 with the Positive Jar

Several years ago, I stole an idea from my neighbor Ellen in an effort to bring more gratitude into my life. It’s pretty simple but profound. Start New Year’s Day with an empty jar. Every time something positive happens, write it down with the date on a sticky note and put it in the jar. Then at the end of the year, read the messages.

I usually open my “positive jar” on New Year’s Day. Maybe I’ll light a few candles, put on some music, and immerse myself in the good takeaways I can garner from the previous year.

Yesterday, I kept putting it off. Part of me didn’t want to know, didn’t want to revisit 2020, and from what I’ve heard a lot of people felt the same. Why look back in that rearview mirror to see the dumpster fire that we were fleeing? (Because objects in those mirrors are always closer than they appear.) So, I decided to put it off until I was feeling stronger. I got to it this morning, opening the jar, reading the messages, smiling at some of the memories, aching from some others (a loved one surviving a complicated surgery, but died a month after I put the note in the jar). I posted them all over my whiteboard and just immersed myself in the process.

I discovered that for me, in some ways, 2020 was not a complete train wreck. There were good moments, and poignant moments, and just plain happy moments. Where I was proud of myself for achieving a previously insurmountable task, where I was grateful that a bad event did not become worse, where I found the silver linings.

Happy New Year to you all, and may 2021 bring you and yours health, joy, and peace.