It’s called a memory box. Think of it as an easy way to capture the brilliant and not-so-briliant moments of 2015. I realized how important my 2014 memory box was a few weeks ago.
I was having an especially rough night. I don’t remember why, but there I was, sitting on my polka-dotted duvet in my bedroom, feeling generally miserable. I knew, in some logical part of my brain, that I needed to knock some sense into myself and calm down. It clearly wasn’t the end of the world. Then I remembered the box.
The first thing I grabbed hold of inside was a card from my sister. Rereading her handwritten words made me burst into tears, but with a sense of relief. (She wrote that sometimes it seems like we’re always on the hunt: for the right guy, the right job, the right life. But that she didn’t have to search for one thing: a best friend, which she already had in me. Cue the gushing tears.) I read through notes I had placed in the box as I was going through significant parts of 2014: the joy of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time in January and high points of my vacation to San Diego with Tom in March. There was a note for the day I was laid off from my previous job in April, and another for when I had my interview at Marie Claire in May. I got the reminder I needed: that life goes on; that there are ups and downs, but in the end, I’ll be ok (and so will you!).
I turn to the memory box whenever I’m doubting myself or I feel a little lost. It gives me a boost of confidence and some much-needed positive energy. (I got the idea from this blog post Tom told me about, which suggests keeping an “accomplishment jar” to make the most of small and large victories that we have each day.) Here’s how to create your own:
Grab a gift box or shoe box. Get crafty and decorate it. Glue on positive messages from magazines, pictures, concert tickets, glitter, etc., or just keep it inconspicuous and leave the box as is. Put a pen and notepad inside so you never have to search for them. Think back to this past Wednesday, New Year’s Eve. Write down what you can remember (good and bad!) from that night, whether you stayed home and baked cookies, watched movies with your mom, raged at a club with your friends, or spent a quiet night in with your favorite person (your cat!). Place the note in the box as your first moments of 2015. What makes the box so easy is it’s not like a journal, where you have to write a lot. So keep it simple with a few details and the date.
From now on, add notes and dates to the box as often as you can. It could be something “big” (you traveled to Italy, you had a baby, you finished grad school, you left a job, a relationship ended) or a “small” one, like you went on an awesome (or a horrible, but kind of funny) date, you flirted with a stranger, you received praise from a coworker, or you had an especially delicious brunch and great conversation with a friend.
It’s the coolest thing to look back on these moments as 2015 stretches on; to see how far you’ve come and what you’ve achieved.
It’s easy to forget the details of everyday life, but when you read the notes you’ve written and the memories unfold, you’ll feel a sense of resilience and strength that a picture can’t always provide.
Photograph via Pinterest.