It’s amazing what it takes for us to appreciate the little things. A bright blue sky, our favourite blanket, a full fridge, or the fact that technology allows us to remain connected to our loved ones even when circumstances prevent a warm embrace. Many of us have spent years running on empty, juggling a hundred different tasks and obligations while documenting every single decision made throughout the day; the pressure to be ‘living your best life’, being anywhere but in your own home, takes its toll eventually – and who would’ve thought it would be an unprecedented pandemic to make us question our lifestyle and reassess our priorities.
A completely clear diary is something I’ve not experienced since I was at school. A constant merry-go-round of trips, birthday celebrations, weddings, evenings out, drinks with friends, family events and everything inbetween has kept me busy – and it’s what I’ve always thrived on. So having all that I was looking forward to cancelled, postponed or rearranged for a much later date has left me slightly baffled and uneasy; it’s taken the best part of the last month for me to find my new normal, to revel in the knowledge that I can wake up every day and have no obligations to fulfil, and to appreciate the little things that really make me happy…
Sitting in my garden drinking a cold G&T. Taking the dog for a long walk along the canal. Baking a cake and preparing dinner ahead of time. Catching up with people I’ve not been able to pin down in months. Reading a book. Taking a bath. Cleaning my house from top to bottom and sitting back to admire what we’ve created. Having time. Having headspace.
Yes, I absolutely miss my ‘former life’ – but that doesn’t mean I don’t quite like what I’ve also been able to create in its absence.
When this strange world finally goes back to some sense of normality, I want to retain the gratitude I’ve discovered while fully embracing and being thankful for the things we can once again experience. I can’t wait to be able to go for a burger before the cinema, to drink Prosecco with my mates and be able to spend a Sunday afternoon in my grandparents garden; I can’t wait to be able to travel to spend the weekend with our parents, to go shopping with my sisters, to book a holiday and to grab a coffee in my reusuable cup. Who knew I’d miss smiling at strangers, McDonalds chips and driving with the windows down just as much as I do now.
To capture all those things to look forward to, I’ve created a Hope Jar.
Such a simple but amazing idea, this allows us to write down on slips of paper all the things we have hope for and all the things we’re looking forward to experiencing when this is all over; whether it’s simple human contact, your favourite restaurant or a trip away, being ‘active’ in writing them down will make you feel grateful and hopeful for the future – rather than wallowing in the present. When we’re able to recapture our lives, one by one we can take the pieces of paper out and treat ourselves to that moment (or be thankful if it’s something we’ve already managed to do.) I believe this will not only help me to be more aware and make conscious decisions, but afterwards to have a little reminder of all the things I once took for granted.
I want to emerge from this horrendous situation having found a sense of calm within myself, and gratitude for the freedoms and experiences my life presents. I’ve wasted so much time being anxious, worrying and focusing on things that don’t matter – now I want to focus on all the things that do.
Why don’t you join me and create your own Hope Jar?
(I can’t take credit for this by the way; I saw it pop up on my Facebook feed as an idea to do with your kids!)