The concept of a Memory Jar is not a new thing. However, I saw this picture last week on Twitter. The fan’s idea, I presume, was inspired by Sean Patrick Flanery and his inspirational and insightful blog, Shine… Until Tomorrow. I instantly fell in love with it.
2013 was pretty rough around the edges, to say the very least. I’ve made my peace with it, and acknowledged the countless blessings we received in spite of it all. I know that I have a long road ahead of me and a lot of changes that need to be made. And I have decided that a Jar of Shine will help set me on my path.
I have never been a big proponent of New Year’s resolutions, as the few I ever set as a child were very quickly broken. I often laugh at the people who rush right out and drop good money joining a gym that, honestly, most of them will not be visiting in 5 months time. Winter is never a good time to make a dietary overhaul unless completely medically necessary (for those people, I believe, will actually stick with it). Tis the season for baked goods and comfort foods on cold, blustery days. The period of time that spans from October 1st through February 14th is my personal chocolate hell. I think it is better to make smarter choices–not necessarily easier choices, but smaller, smarter ones. You have to be realistic when setting goals, even when you know you want to soar.
It filled my heart with so much joy when I heard my 15 year old daughter tell me that she woke up today “inspired”. She said that in 2014 she wants to, “…read more books, go outside more, start hiking, and learn more things.” She cancelled her Facebook account and told all of her other social media and gaming communities that she wouldn’t be around much after school starts back this week. She has decided what direction she wants her life to go in and she is taking steps to ensure that she succeeds. Can this possibly be my child? I finally did something right? I love that kid.
It’s my turn now to take the necessary steps. I have decided that I am going to be healthy. I will accomplish that by making small, smart, and realistic changes. For example, I don’t drink a ton of soda, maybe a can a day and a fountain drink if we go out. But I know I need to drink more water. And so, I am making myself drink at least 1 full glass of water a day–for now. Eventually, I know I will work my way up to a greater tolerance. But at least I know I’m currently guaranteed 16 ounces. I also stopped buying my caffeine free Pepsi cans that I love so well. Instead, I bought a case of diet Sierra Mist (all zeroes across the board). That way, if I do drink a soda, at least I’m not taking on the empty calories.
I’ve started walking. I know that sounds trivial to most of you. But, trust me. With all that has happened to my lungs recently, a trip around the block feels crippling sometimes. And that’s how it begins. A trip around the block turns into a trip around the ball field behind our house. Eventually, a trip around the city park. And then our entire neighborhood. My goal is 3 times a week. If I keep it up and get the oxygen and blood pumping in my chest, who knows? By summer I could be up to a light jog. No matter the pace, it still feels good to breathe in the fresh air.
And while I am busy finding little ways to make myself better physically, the Jar of Shine will help me to make myself better mentally. By creating the Jar, I am committing myself to finding something positive in each and every day, no matter how terrible that day may be. Come December 31, 2014 it will be exciting to open the jar and read all of those memories from throughout the year. Think of all of the little lessons that we learn day in and day out. Sometimes we are so concerned in one area that we cannot fully appreciate what is happening in another. The Jar of Shine will enable me to remain positive and remind myself of what is truly good and important in my life.
Currently, my Shine is housed in a Chock Full of Nuts coffee can. I haven’t quite found the Jar I’m looking for. You watch; come next year I’ll still be using the same coffee can. I guess when you get down to it, it doesn’t matter what my Jar of Shine looks like on the outside, so much as what I choose to fill it with. Either way, it will, as Mr. Flanery says, allow me to shine…until tomorrow.