Instead of making a new year’s resolution, I started a gratitude jar. Well, it’s more like a bowl than a jar. Actually, to be utterly accurate, it’s a vase — a gratitude vase. I knew there was no point in promising to give up vino, or cut down on food, or step-up in the exercise stakes… all of which would have been wise choices, but I know me. All of those things were also predetermined not to succeed. Willpower is not my middle name. So, in a moment of foolhardy enthusiasm, I opted to celebrate 2016 with a gratitude jar.
You know how they work. Every day I note down something for which I’m thankful or that makes me smile. I put the date on it and then drop the little coloured billet-doux to life in the vase with its predecessors. I know gratitude jars have been around for centuries. They’re no doubt generally regarded as utterly twee, possibly even totally passé by now. But I’m a slow learner. It takes me a while to catch on to things. Especially if they are new habits.
And that’s where I seem to be falling down. It’s not noticing the good stuff. That’s the easy bit. It’s the regular, do-it-every-day, make-it-a-new-part-of-the-routine bit that’s doing me in.
You know how when you take antibiotics, the doctor and the chemist and the person at the cash register and your mother and your bestie and your neighbour’s second-cousin all remind you that you have to take every single one of the 10 or 12 or 14 or however many are in the prescription or they won’t work? Well, I never do. I never manage to take every single tablet and the last few rattle around somewhere unnoticed until their use-by date is a distant memory.
Other things I regularly fail to make a part of my daily schedule include:
- 30 minutes of exercise
- making the bed
- sweeping the floors
- being nice to my husband.
The great and ubiquitous ‘they all’ tell me that just doing something every day for thirty days ensures that it becomes as natural as cleaning your teeth. To be honest, I don’t know if this theory holds true. I never make it to thirty days.
What’s happening with my gratitude vase is that I seem to be stockpiling my expressions of approbation into clumps of half-baked thanks instead of neatly sautéing one each day.
I’m a little worried that my gratitude vase is judging me.
I have a list of dates and reminder words scribbled on a tatty envelope next to the bed. There’s another one on my phone. And I’m wondering whether a pen and paper in the drawer in the upstairs loo mightn’t be a good idea too.
The comments all make it into the vase eventually.
Every day is acknowledged.
It’s just that I tend to complete and deposit several days’ worth of notes at a time… a week's worth even…
I guess, on the upside, I should be glad that I haven’t given up on my gratitude vase.
I’m not a total fail at gratefulness yet.
|My gratitude vase in its natural habitat|