on my good days, i'm wearing my favorite shoes, I voraciously zip through what ever book im reading, all food tastes like heaven sprinkled with sugar, and salt. i'm creative and witty. bird sing and help me get dressed in the morning. basically, im unstoppable. on a bad day, Camus and Nietzsche rear their existential heads. I am alone. life is meaningless. im angry. I wear a lot of black, don't really comb my hair, listen to bands like Placebo..... you get the picture. it's not pretty.
a little while ago, I set out to change that, stemming from an event of complete happenstance. I was leaving my local coffee haunt The Bean on 12th and Broadway. Serendipitously placed on what I like to call the Holy Corner. my favorite coffee, book store (The Strand), and my favorite record shop (Second Hand Rose) are all on this corner. if you love any of those things, check it. anyway, I digress. I was leaving The Bean with my habitual Mocha, took my first sip, and was overcome with relief that it was made exactly how I like it. the perfect ratio of Chocolate Syrup to Espresso. it seems miniscule (and it is) but in that moment I couldn't help but feel delighted that something so small gave me such an uplifting feeling. from that moment on, I decided life was too short to wait for "big moments" to come up to make me feel better. joy in life, is in the little things.
I have kind of a thing for jars. any jar in general really. on my dresser I have a plethora of different jars containing a myriad of things. for example, I have a "pretty things" jar, filled with small dried flowers, petals, gorgeous fall leaves, rocks and sea glass. anything from the natural world that I think is beautiful. it is a reminder that we too, come from the earth and that we are just as beautiful. I have a "things that might be useful later" jar, containing extra buttons, back up nose rings, safety pins, matches, hooks and eyes. I have one for bobby pins (small and large), lip products, guitar picks.... the list goes on. after what I deemed "the mocha moment", I decided to add another jar to my collection. I call it the "good things" jar. I fill it with things that give me happy memories, like ticket stubs, photos, admission cards , small photos, fortune cookie fortunes, anything that has a pleasant and exciting memory attached to it. in addition, I make it a point to write down the little things that happen to me that make me feel better. for example "brandi is a great friend because we can have a disagreement, talk like adults, and then everything is better and I love that we don't fall apart" or "mindy and dustin just got engaged and im so ecstatic. he finally pulled the trigger!", and lest we forget "the girl at the bean made my mocha perfectly". if i'm having a darker day for some reason or another, I open the jar, stick my hand in, and pull a random piece of happiness out. and I keep going. I look at them all and inevitably, i'm in a better mood because they are reminders of amazing things that I've done with people that I love or maybe something I did all on my own. not only are the memories and messages happy themselves, but the act as a whole is a reminder that our life's happiness depends on being grateful for all things that affect us in any way. not just the big or small. it is also comforting to know that there is one place, very close to me, that i can depend on to make me feel better.
i recently switched to a bigger jar, so i have more space for all my happiness.
you could get a small jar, fill it to the brim until you get a new one or you could just start with a big one. i enjoy the latter because if you find this task a bit difficult, the empty jar is more incentive to notice the little things that give you joy. make a promise to yourself to be cognizant of these things. some days will be really, really, difficult to add something to your jar and that's ok. don't force yourself into "happiness". only add things when they truly bring you joy. i promise, it gets easier.
remember, joy is in the little things.