My Little Jar of Happy Things

On my bookshelf sits a little, inconspicuous jar. It’s surrounded by beautiful books, make up brushes, box sets, study equipment and a little bit of mess. It’s quiet, it doesn’t shout out to anyone who sees it, other than it being a little bit hipster becauIMG_3166se of the blackboard sticker stuck on top. Even now, after having it for so long, it’s strange to me that such a little, seemingly meaningless jar can hold so much joy.

What this little jar is, in reality, is just a jar. But if you were to come and open it up, other than this being a bit of an invasion of privacy (what are you doing in my room anyway??), you would discover it’s basically fit to bursting with little bits of paper.

When I was in fifth or sixth year of high school (which is getting worryingly long ago now) I decided to write down little things that made me happy for a year and put them in a jar, to cheer me up wheneverIMG_3161 I was feeling down. And like most good ideas I have, I was sure it was probably going to be exciting for a month or so and then ultimately teeter out.

But as you can probably guess, it didn’t. Over the past 4/5 years, I’ve been writing down things that have made me happy and putting them in that jar. And this morning I looked back in that jar for the first time in a few months, and the warm feeling I felt in my stomach was enough to dispel the anxiety that has been rumbling away there for the past few days (exam problems, amiright).

IMG_3153What I didn’t realise when I first wrote down something like ‘I passed my prelims!’ was that I was about to start collecting little forgotten moments of joy in my life, moments that time extinguishes with bigger things and new challenges. Little moments of joy are, I think, what get us through life, and without them I don’t really know where I’d be. A good book on a cold night, making a new friend, laughing with my family – lots of tiny things that are forgotten within even a few weeks. But I wrote so many of them down, and now I might never forget them.

IMG_3146Looking back was honestly like reading a book of my last few years. I found excitement over being accepted into Glasgow Uni of all places, but then even more excitement about accepting my place at Strathclyde. I suddenly remembered the absolute horror of waiting for replies from unis, and the ultimate excitement in realising that yes – I was in, and four years of my life were now planned.

I found the excitement in friendships developing that I had thought would never happen – friendships which, even though I am incredibly thankful for, I do take for granted because they’ve become just like breathing to me. I forget that there was a time when I didn’t know these people, or that I was worried we wouldn’t still be friends when I got to this stage in my life – and the utter joy on those tiny bits of paper at the realisation that I was getting somewhere helps me to relive and re-appreciate the people in my life.

IMG_3155There are moments that I don’t remember, but bits of paper celebrating God’s provision and plan for my life, and though I don’t know why I was celebrating that at the time, it’s beautiful to see that God was working then, as He is now.

I found moments in Daniel and Nathan’s lives which were massive milestones tIMG_3147.JPGo me – the first time Daniel giggled at me, the first time Nathan smiled when I sung to him. Things that now happen every time I see them, but then were new and big and exciting.

And there are things I’ve taken out of the jar. Plans I had which were never going to happen, some friendships which naturally drifted apart, futures I saw for myself which I know now weren’t what was best for me – but instead of just putting them in the bin, I replace them with the lessons I’ve learned, with what I’ve been taught from the bad times, and what I have now that can go and be remembered in such a happy little jar.IMG_3151.JPG

I forget to look in it often when I am feeling down – typical really, but sometimes all I want is to feel a bit sad, and have a good cry. But on a morning like this morning, when all I feel is that studying is never going to end, that I’ll never reach where I want to be – it’s amazing to see the little things that used to make me happy that are now just life to me. It makes me wonder what, in a few years, I’ll be reading from today in my little jar and going…’Oh yeah, that was such a big deal to me back then? That’s normal now.’ There’s something so beautiful to me about the happy things in life becoming the normal things.

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What I Learnt/Relearnt In 2015

Being that it’s nearing the end of 2015, I, along with the rest of the world, have begun to feel inexplicably sentimental. I love being sentimental and I love looking back on things, but I often look back and forget what I’ve learnt (which is silly) so I’ve decided to put everything I’ve learnt in one blog post, so that if I forget I can come back here and relearn it all. So this is really just for me, but I hope you enjoy it anyway:

What I Learnt/Relearnt in 2015

1) If somebody asks if you want a ‘store card’ they do not mean a loyalty card – say no otherwise you’ll end up crying in Starbucks.

2) You definitely do not want to be a journalist.

3) (Although you still aren’t 100% sure what you want to do yet. But that’s okay.)

4) You love spinach.

5) You panic too easily and you need to sort that out.

6) Turns out third year is hard. Who knew.

7) You’re not as bad at making friends as you’ve convinced yourself you are.

8) You like running once you get past the start of it.

9) (You also really like cake, so keep on running.)

10) Rely on God and you won’t be so stressed all the time.

11) Rely on yourself and you’ll be super stressed all of the time.

12) Seen exams are a waste of time.

13) You love writing poetry.

14) (You need to get permission before writing poetry in public places.)

15) You’re so grateful for your job.

16) It’s okay to ask God for what you want.

17) It’s okay for Him to say no.

18) (The answer is sometimes just not yet.)

19) You can make a  top notch stir fry.

20) You need to persevere.

21) Organising transport is not your forte.

22) Writing is.

23) Don’t live for the moments.

24) Your perspective isn’t necessarily the right one.

25) You can be far too emotional about situations that require calm, level thinking.

26) Be organised, but not everything falls into place when you are organised.

27) You should idealise less.

28) You say ‘chill out’ way too much.

29) If you end up living a single life when you’re older, you would still be happy.

30) Your knees are dodgy.

31) You can get a writing blog of 900 followers if you try.

32) You need to be patient. Things don’t happen on your time schedule.

33) There’s so much more for you to learn.