One thing, every day. (For ten years.)

January 20th, 2012

I’ve been letting a lot of the little things, and perhaps a few of the big things, rub me the wrong way lately. And I am aware, when things rub me the wrong way, that a good half of it is my reaction to whatever situation is annoying me as much as the annoyingness of the situation itself. For example, The Boychen isn’t much of an eater: the things he’ll eat are quite limited, he takes forever to eat just enough to sustain life, at the table he squirms and plays and gets up and wanders away. It’s exhausting, and annoying, and has seriously reduced my ability to take pleasure in food, and I eat less than I used to because at some point the food has been drained of all taste and enjoyment. It’s annoying, no doubt, but I also let it upset me more than it needs to, which of course is the completely wrong reaction with regards to the table dynamics, but that’s a whole different post. The point I’m trying to make is I know I’ve been letting things get under my skin.

A corollary to letting things rub me the wrong way, I think, is that it’s hard to savor the little moments when I’ve built up a steam of annoyance. And I don’t want to miss all the little moments which are, after all, the moments that make up life. So one of my personal – as opposed to writing – resolutions for the year is to learn how to let go of minor irritations and, at the same time, pay more attention to the small happinesses. To help me focus my mind on a good, small moment from each day, I bought myself a 10Jahresbuch (10 year book) for Christmas. It’s basically a diary: there is one page for each day of the year, starting with January 1, and each page has ten lines. At the end of each day, I write one short line about the best moment of the day. When I hit December 31, I go back to the beginning of the book and move on to the second line on the page for January 1 – the best thing about January first 2013 – and so on until the book is full. Ten years of best things. It is simultaneously spectacularly ambitious and ridiculously simple.

The boys feeding the swans on New Year’s Day has been a moment, and a full moon on the way home from a hockey game that the whole family had tickets to, and sitting alone at Starbuck’s with a caramel macchiato and the first draft of a poem. And it’s early in the year, but it’s a good thing to spend five minutes at the end of the day remembering something special.

2 Responses to “One thing, every day. (For ten years.)”

  1. rswb on January 20, 2012 11:09 pm

    Oh,that is nice. My mother has kept a diary since time immemorial, and she usually uses a 5 year one that has about 5 lines for each day. It’s always interesting for her to look back and see what she was doing 5 years ago that day.

  2. Jillian on January 21, 2012 3:16 pm

    the 10 Jahresbuch is such an incredible idea…thank you so much for sharing! I’m about to make myself one right now!

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