Bill’s polar bear swim is safe in my jar

  • Nina London's jug of happy moments

(Photograph supplied)

    Nina London's jug of happy moments (Photograph supplied)

On the last day of 2017, I took from the shelf a clay jug and put it on my table. It was my “jug of happy moments”.

Inside, were small scraps of paper and on each one there were a few sentences written throughout the year; a short description of something good that happened to me that day.

“January 2. Bill and I spent two hours in the boat, alone on the huge ocean. It was a magnificent, quiet, sunny day.”

A flood of memories came back to me: the silver sheen on the reefs as the sun dropped low in the afternoon; the wind and salt on my face, the deep aquamarine and brilliant white sand at Pompano; Bill jumping in for a New Year’s polar bear swim. It made me smile.

Looking at the scribbled note, I thought of how exactly a year ago I decided to remember every day I lived. I would not remember everything, just highlight those happy moments that I would like to keep in my memory. I wanted to collect those instants that gave me a reason to smile or laugh and those for which I was grateful and appreciative.

Last year, I expected that at the end of 2017 I would have 365 happy moments. It seemed to me that it would be so simple because I would have to remember only one thing. I could quickly write it down and drop it in the jug. It did not require the time and discipline of keeping a diary. In a way, it was even easier than snapping a photo on my phone.

But it turned out to be more difficult than I thought, especially in the beginning. I would close my eyes and, in front of me, my whole day flew by. There were so many things that happened — how could I choose the happiest one? I discarded all the bad memories, and tried to concentrate only on the good things.

From these recent memories, I would choose one that had a special sentiment of beauty, goodness or joy. As the year went on, it became just another habit; a quick and easy part of my daily routine. Sometimes nothing really special jumped out at me, so I just wrote something pleasant or positive that happened. Sometimes, I forgot to write a note.

Yet, I began to notice a subtle change in my attitude: gratitude.

Gratitude began to seep into my day and sustain me. I believe it’s because I started to realise that our life is filled with a succession of moments and, although many of them appear ordinary or even unpleasant, there is always something good that happens along the way.

I chose another scrap of paper, from the bottom of the jug. “January 16. I set up my first wellness workshop for cancer patients and survivors.”

Another: “January 6. Bill got a role in the movie! What a fantastic surprise!”

Another: “April 16. My daughter got a kitten.”

It was an easy but fulfilling practice for me.

Our whole life consists of moments, and it is in our power to create as many beautiful and memorable ones as possible. Not only create, but also remember and be thankful for them. If we remember the good, and that there is beauty and small kindnesses everywhere, then we will appreciate the chance that is given to us — to live. How important it is to be able to enjoy every day and every beautiful moment in it!

Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her here:

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Published Jan 4, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 3, 2018 at 11:28 pm)

Bill’s polar bear swim is safe in my jar

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