January, so far, has been one of full of odd turns, surprises and overwhelming emotion. From the national lockdown here in the UK to a global feeling of helplessness, it’s safe to say that this is more 2020 part two or 20/21, than 2021. One of the things that I decided to change this month was to consciously begin long-form journaling again. A lifelong writer, diarist and journal-er of all sorts, I’ve always found that making notes of my days helps not only to make sense of those thoughts floating around before bedtime, but also to take stock of the very best parts of my days.
So far this year, I’ve written unprompted. I simply open my bullet journal, make a note of the date and let my thoughts spill onto paper. The handwriting is messy, the structure is non-formulaic and there’s no rhyme or reason. Sometimes I find myself writing to myself; others I’m writing as though to a future relative (a daughter? Grandchild?). Now that I scan back at the entries I’ve made in January, I realise that whilst I did jot down my lengthy musings about the bad things at the time, I only remember the positives. As the world continues to do its thing, I thought I’d share three ways that I’ve personally been journaling to capture and savour those all-important joys…
Space for a running list
It’s almost funny to me that I write about making space to document joys, because I am historically terrible at keeping up with this. I just jot them down here, there and everywhere. But this month I left space beside my month-to-view so I could jot them down together. Whenever I flick to that page, I’m prompted to add a few more things. ‘Posies from the garden. Surprise flowers from the girls. First snow.’
Writing without limit can feel daunting to many non-writers, so having a dedicated space can help to hone in on just a few select things that bring you joy. Keep the list area short, if you feel that minimises pressure to seek out things you’re not usually noticing. It’ll feel more rewarding, this way.
Collage your Instagram reel
Knowing full well that our Instagram grids are curated highlight reels, why not use that as a starting point? Better yet, transform your Instagram into the journal. Not only is this an incredibly simple way to start capturing your life’s little joys, it takes away the pressure of ‘formally’ setting up a notebook and forcing yourself to jot things down when you wouldn’t naturally do so. What works for me might not work for everyone else, and so simple social media accounts can be an incredible starting point for beginning your journey into savouring those small but important joys.
Throw the rulebook out of the window
And on that note, throw the rulebook out of the window. Read this post and ignore it. Start quietening your mind and taking stock of everything you have instead of the things you don’t have or the ones you want. Forget about what’s happened; seek out the joys that directly surround you and envelop you without you even realising. Even if you can’t quite put your finger on what those things are right now, make notes. My own ‘Petite joys’ series and personal lists never start as poetically as they sound once shared. There’ll be snippets, odd words that captured a sense of those fleeting moments but, coupled with the beauty of hindsight, eventually blossom into a beautiful vignette of a seemingly insignificant moment. There, is life’s little joy.
And on that note, what is one little joy from your world lately? Mine is Dad de-icing my car and making me a coffee before I headed out to send some parcels.