A naptime discovery

During my daughter’s record three-and-a-half hour nap on Sunday, I organized four kitchen drawers and two kitchen cabinets. I packaged up old bottles and pacifiers in a bin for storage in the basement. I staked our eight tomato plants. I pulled weeds from between the cracks of the bricks in our garden. I folded two loads of laundry. I called my mom. I sent an e-mail. I cleaned the kitchen. I straightened up the upstairs bath and bedrooms.

And after all that, I still had time to look through old journals that I had stumbled upon in our guest room. I love the little treat of reading a journal entry logged when I was in the fourth grade and then turning to another journal and reading an entry from when I was in my early 20s, single and living in the city. Frighteningly, my handwriting had not changed much.

While thumbing through a journal from the latter period of my life, out fell about 20 pieces of loose paper covered with my chicken scratch and lots of dates. I knew at once what the words on these pages were meant to communicate — the five things I was grateful for on each of the dates listed. As I thought back, I recalled what — or rather who — got me started with this ritual — Oprah. During an episode of her show back in the day, she had explained that each night, she recorded five things that she was grateful for that day into a journal at her bedside. Even on her not so good days, she’d make a point to jot down even five seemingly minor or mundane things that made her happy or made her day that much better. She said this ritual had changed her life.

So I tried it. And I even stuck with it for close to a year. The sheets of paper I now held were entertaining, and at times moving, to review these nine years later.

On the entertaining front, I smiled as I came across these entries: on April 3, 2001, I was grateful for a scone my co-worker Leslie gave me. On December 4th, I was grateful to be recognized by name by the manager at Cosi. On November 17th, I was grateful for beers with Jamie and Filip. On April 15th, I was thankful for the nice lady at Radio Shack. And on March 28th, I was thankful for some guy smiling at me at the gym.

On the more moving front, on November 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th, 2001, I was grateful for hope. On March 15th, I was grateful for a chat with my grandma. On February 20th, I was grateful for the support of my friends. On January 10th, I was grateful for a healthy newborn nephew. And on the list pretty much every day that I recorded my “five things,” I was thankful for my mom and dad and some gesture they made on my behalf.

In reviewing these entries on Sunday, and again later as I drafted this post, I was overwhelmed by the support of friends, family and kind strangers played out in these pages. What a great little ritual. I wonder why I ever stopped. So, I bet you can guess what I’ve been doing since Sunday in a half full journal I found in my desk.

I don’t know if this daily ritual will change my life as it did Oprah’s, but what if it does?

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3 Responses to “A naptime discovery”

  1. Mary K. Goetz Says:

    Yiu have motivated me! I already have an empty journal and I am going to start tonight.

  2. Veronica Says:

    Jacks-
    I had a gratitude journal for such a long time too. I’m not sure if you motivated me to start or if I saw the same Oprah πŸ™‚ I just pulled mine out- starts in october of 99 and became much more sparse up into the 2007!! I couldn’t agree w you more. Nearly every day there is something about friends and family’s love and support.
    And one for you to know:
    10-18-99: Jacquie’s friendly ear even when I’ve said the same thing 100 times.

    • Jacquie Says:

      Thanks for sharing that V!! I am glad I was able to provide a friendly ear (I hope you know I am still always here to listen). Love you lots! Jacquie πŸ™‚

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