The Happiness Jar

I’ve had a shitty week. And yes, shitty is the only way to describe it. It might have been the shittiest week of my entire life. Maybe I should stop saying shit. (shit.)

It was one of those weeks that behind every laugh, there was a hint of sadness. A cluster of days when most of my mascara ended up on my phone screen during long talks with my mom, 7 times that I woke up and didn’t know what the day would bring. And it’s interesting, now looking back at last week, I wasn’t the only one having a hard time. A handful of my friends were having shit (damn it, I did it again) weeks too. It’s kinda like the universe decided it needed to change things up in a big way. Kinda like when I was younger and would shake snowglobes too hard until I couldn’t see the scene anymore.

The funny thing about sadness is how it makes you remember times when you felt perfectly happy. Like the sweet spots of life. When you’re in those sweet spots, of course you can recognize that you’re happy, but when you’re sad, those happy times seem even more perfect. You dream of going back to that time. I instantly thought back to August, when I was living in Orientationland. I had the most wonderful friends around me, someone out there loving me and dreaming of the same future, and a sense of positivity like nothing could bring me down. Now some of those things changed. Some haven’t, but some have.

Last week, one of my friends clearly noticed I was having a bad (see, I’m learning) time and said she had a gift for me. The next day, she came over with a simple mason jar full of colorful slips of paper. She called it the Happiness Jar. Her prescription (she’s a nurse by the way) was to read one slip of paper every day and let it guide me. And she said, by the time the jar is empty, I would feel a little happier than I do today. So I started using The Happiness Jar.

Here’s the second funny thing about sadness: you start to find happiness in small things. You feel and take in the sunshine more. Deep breaths feel fuller and chocolate tastes sweeter. Writing feels more rewarding and crying until it hurts makes you feel strong afterwards. Driving in the car, on routes that you take every day, are now calming. You appreciate your wonderful, caring friends more. It makes you realize that beautiful people exist in the world and you’re lucky enough to have them all around you. Maybe this is all thanks to the Happiness Jar. Or maybe sadness just accentuates the small things we should always be happy for.

Yea, I’m still sad. But not as sad as yesterday or the day before. One of my favorite poets once wrote: “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain…[Joy and sorrow] are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep on your bed” (Kahlil Gibran).

The last thing to mention about sadness is this: eventually the glitter in the snowglobe settles. Although those seconds seem like an eternity, eventually you start to see the scene again through the sparkley chaos. And all is at peace again.

Here’s to life’s snowglobe & Happiness Jars.

Happiness Jar

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