This week millions of people are preparing a list of goals for the coming year. Lose a few pounds, exercise more, or maybe eat a bit healthier. We all, even if we don’t commit them to paper, find ourselves performing our own personal interpretation of this time-honored ritual.
But before we get cast off from another year, I’d invite everyone to take a moment to pause and think back over the past twelve months and remember the good things you’d like to take with into the coming year – particularly the memories.
A full life is built one day at a time – and our memories are one of the most valuable items we can ever own.
Recently my life was blessed by crossing paths with a woman who created a remarkably simple and effective tool to help her capture just such memories.
Standing on the sidewalk, she shared with me how she and her husband made an effort this past year to capture and then relieve the highlights of their year.
“We keep this crystal jar on the table,” she said. “We named it the Joy Jar.”
I could see tears welling up in her eyes as she spoke.
“Every time something wonderful happens or there is a memory we’d like to keep, we write it down on a small scrap of paper and put in in the jar. Over Thanksgiving we sat down and began going through it – we found movie tickets and just little moments in life that we wanted to make sure we’d remember.”
The tears on her face were very real at this point.
As we reached out and touched hands I knew our meeting was not just random moment – life was teaching me another lesson through the emotions of her voice and the tears from her eyes.
A few moments later we hugged and wished each other the best for the holiday season. She returned to her car with her husband where her husband waited and I began to walk across the parking lot to where I’d parked. The experience, however, refused to let go of me.
I thought about how her resolution was so much more meaningful than anything I’d made at the first of the year — and her’s would forever pay amazing dividends to she and her husband. While I’d committed to losing a few pounds and giving up eating cookies, she and her husband were reliving beautiful moments in their lives because of their commitment to remember life. While we all tell ourselves we won’t forget a moment in life, there is nothing like a tangible reminder in the palm of our hand to unleash a flood of memories.
So with start of another year I will begin creating a depository of great memories. It could be as simple as a mason jar or even just an interesting bowl I find on a clearance shelf. But because of this chance meeting with a stranger – or life – I will always keep a ‘Joy Jar’ in my life.
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