I started keeping a journal in High School. I still have it somewhere. It's a blue binder with loose leaf pages in it and on the front, emblazoned with emphatic ball point pen letters, are the words, "DO NOT OPEN."
The front page has a plea to whomever finds it after my death to burn it without reading it's contents, also written when I was a teenager. Looking at it now is really mostly funny, at the same time as it's embarrassing and painful. Every entry involves me HATING someone, mostly my parents in the middle of a divorce. I keep it around, I think, to make me humble.
Subsequent journals have been less, er, dramatic, but only slightly. They are still the place where I took all my problems and frustrations and spilled them out on the page. The conflicts with friends, the difficulties of growing up, of being afraid. There is the pathetic journal I kept during our honeymoon, oh sad, sad, honeymoon, where we couldn't have sex yet, and me trying to interpret each and every mood of the GH. And the pregnancies with the depression that sets in for 9 months, and the crazy feeling that everyone is being mean to me and hates me. They are not what you would call entertaining.
Journals have been my therapy for my entire adult life. If you read them you would think that my life was one series of traumas after another, because I never really wrote in them except when there was something painful to process. You may also conclude that I am prone to self pity, and you would be correct. These journals tell a part of the story of who I am, they tell people how I think during a conflict or when I'm stressed. If my children were to find them after I pass they would find a hidden side of me, a dark side that I wrestled with pen stroke by pen stroke.
And this is why I'm heading out to get a shiny new journal, one that hasn't been written in yet. I'm joining the Gratitude Community. I've been meaning to all month.
Beyond the immediate benefit if focusing on what I have, rather than what I haven't, I want my children to remember that I was also joyful. I want there to be a record of the things that I was thankful for, the moments that brought me joy day by day when they were small. Some of that is here already in this blog, but I want there to be more.
My plan is to post selections from my gratitude journal here every Friday. It will be the new and improved version of Small Joys Friday.
Here are a few to start.
I'm thankful that even though we're heading into week 4 with absolutely no paycheck, we still have what we need, and some of what we want. (The person the GH did work for last needs to be paid by his client before he can afford to pay us. Welcome to sub-contracting, it's fun.)
We haven't been able to buy groceries past a few dozen eggs and a gallon of milk, but our pantry is stocked well enough that it would be another month or two before we are truly hungry, though we will be bored very soon. (It's an involuntary 30 days of nothing, an unrecognized opportunity to blog.)
I'm thankful for food on the table every night.
I'm thankful for my craft cupboard, which has almost everything I need to make costumes this week.
I still have tomatoes growing on the patio.
We haven't needed to use the credit card yet.
The feeling of climbing into bed on a cool fall night and feeling the warmth start to radiate out from my body and warm the blankets as I fall asleep.
The Baby's face in the light of the nightlight, fast asleep on my arm, lashes snuggled on cheeks, mouth open.
No more fires have broken out this week.
We might get paid to day. And if we don't there is enough for tomorrow.