Time really gets away from me sometimes. It’s so easy to get caught up in the monotony and repetition of each day. The pattern of hurry up and wait.
It baffles me sometimes how weeks and months just past by. I lose touch with people. I feel like I’ve been less than productive. I look back sometimes, and it’s like life is going by in a blur.
It’s like when I was a kid, playing on a merry-go-round. (Not the carousel, horse kind, the kid-powered kind. The one you start up by grabbing a hold of it and running to be build momentum before you hop on.)When you’re on a merry-go-round, everything goes by in a streak, and eventually, you get a little dizzy. But you can always put your foot down, like an anchor, let it slow you down until you finally come to a stop. Sometimes, I just want to put my foot down.
This feeling of the world going by too quickly and slipping out of my grasp is one that has plagued me for years. I can’t help but think there has to be a way to regain some control over my life. A few years ago, I had an idea that I thought might help. I decided each day to write one positive thing about my day–something good that happened, or that made me happy, or that I learned. Something unique and positive about the day.
My theory was that this would allow me to connect with each day, to recognize each day as unique, even if in small ways. I believed that by reflecting on each day I could more fully experience it, remember it better, and not let it pass me by. I also felt like it would help me cultivate positivity, gratitude, and mindfulness.
I stuck with it for awhile, and it really made me happy. But as frequently happens with habits, eventually my positivity journal lay abandoned. I revisited this concept multiple times but never with any real longevity.
The idea has always been in the back of my mind, and at the beginning of this year, I decided to return to it yet again.
On New Year’s Eve, I was at Powell’s (my favorite bookstore, ever), where I saw a beautiful Thich Nhat Hanh themed journal. The timing was serendipitous. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been having a lot of thoughts and feelings, and at this time, I was feeling particularly overwhelmed (by both wonderful and less than wonderful things) and was actively seeking some kind of inner peace. I’ve considered myself Buddhist for nearly half my life at this point, and have admired Thich Nhat Hanh and his writings since college.
I bought that journal, and since January 1st, I’ve been using it to write down something positive every day. Sometimes I fall asleep or forget and miss a day, but I don’t beat myself up about it. I just take some time the next day to reflect on the day I’ve missed.
It’s only been a month and a half. I honestly don’t know if it’s made much of an impact on my life. I think it’s probably too soon to tell. But that’s a month and a half that I’ve stuck with it, and for that, I am proud of myself. And more importantly, it feels right and it makes me happy.
Photo Attribution: By Eddau (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons