A year of gratitude and remembering

Tin with gratitude notes in

Back in January 2020 (BC – before Covid!), a friend shared a post about a gratitude jar where you write down something every week that you’re grateful for, pop it in the jar, and then open it at the end of the year and remember all the good times and things that have happened that year.

I really liked this idea, and although I do something similar at the end of every day (come up with three good things from that day which I say out loud), I thought having a written record every week would be a nice way to reflect on the whole year.

Little did I know that it was going to turn into quite a year!

Opening up the jar (well, I used a tin) was fun to see all 50+ pieces of paper. I made sure they were in the correct order and then read through from week 1 to week 52 (well, I did 53 weeks as the year is just over 52 weeks). I had decided to write down one ‘best thing’ and one ‘grateful for’ each week.

Gratitude notes from 2020 on desk
Gratitude notes from 2020

As I read through each note I remembered many of the ‘best things’, and given what happened in 2020, it was really nice to reflect on what was good, despite everything that was going on.

Gratitude note
In week 39 I was grateful for ‘people coming to my first in-person yoga class’ since the restrictions were put in place and then eased

Some of the things I wrote down could be seen as insignificant, and easily forgotten by the end of the year, so reading them again is a good way to remember that ‘small is beautiful’ (to borrow a title of a book).

Note saying grateful for going to library
In week 34 my ‘best thing’ was being able to go to the local library again, and to browse the shelves to choose my books

The public library service has always been important to me (so much so that it underlies my other career), and although I had been re-reading books on my own bookshelves, it was great to be allowed in the local library again and to browse the shelves and choose books.

I was also grateful for the weather!

Gratitude note
In week 33 I enjoyed the sunshine we were having, and camping out in the garden – the summer holiday for 2020!

In other weeks, I was grateful for what people were doing to help during lockdown, and for the simple pleasure of being allowed outside for a walk, run or cycle ride.

Gratitude note
In week 13, when the UK went into a full lockdown, I enjoyed having a video chat with my parents, and was grateful to the local greengrocers (Parrys) for staying open so I could buy fresh fruit and veg, and I was grateful for being allowed outside to exercise as people in some countries were not allowed out.

There’s time for you to do this for 2021 if you like the idea. It’s a simple yet powerful way to reflect weekly and at the end of the year on positive things, being grateful, and to remember that despite everything, there is always something good we can find in our lives, no matter how small.

4 thoughts on “A year of gratitude and remembering

  1. Thank you for this…I always feel an affinity with your posts since I first stumbled across them when you were based in Wales. We have a “say 3 things out loud” daily gratitude practice too. And now I discover you are also a researcher by background 😊 I look forward to meeting you at a Yoga Scotland event someday when we can do these again ‘in person’.

    1. Hi Catherine, thank you for your kind words. I too look forward to meeting you somewhere, most likely a yoga event in Scotland! I long to travel north and see my parents nr Inverness too, the pull of the Highlands! (PS Did you know I’m co-editor of the YS magazine now? Do consider writing something on healing – the call for contributors is going out in the next few days hopefully.)

      1. Re editor, yes, I saw, that’s great! I’m sure it will be lots of work but hopefully rewarding for you too. Thank you for the invite. Would love to get organised to write more again but probably won’t happen this time, with other things that are going on Jan/Feb for me. If your parents are near here (I’m in Nairn) we might someday be able to meet up for aa beach walk/coffee!

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