Create a Family Memory Jar
Happy New Year to you!
I love the start of a fresh new year. The wide open possibilities that lie in the months ahead, a chance to shake things up, try a fresh approach. Out with the old, in with the new!
It’s also time to empty out our family memory jar and start over again.
Last January my family started with an empty container. Throughout the year we filled it with notes about all of the good things that happened over the months.
I’ve probably added twice as many slips of paper into the jar as anyone else, but the kids have been pretty good about writing notes after we’ve returned home from a trip or a particularly fun day out and I’ve reminded them to include any awards received at school or bringing home a great report card.
The plan was for us all to gather around the jar and read all of the notes inside on December 31st.
We were away over New Year’s (creating some great final memories of the year!) so we postponed the opening of the jar until we got back and could light a fire, serve up some drinks and make a nice little occasion out of it.
We took turns drawing out a note and reading each one out loud.
It was fun to remember all of the good stuff that’s happened over the past 12 months. We applauded any merits, laughed at some of the funny occasions and were pleasantly surprised when we read out three slips of paper written by friends and extended family members who’d slipped in memories about their stay with us. I’d also stuck one in there to document our excessive family expression of the year, ‘WHAT THE HECK?!’ and my husband declared that this needs to be the year we all stop saying it. (What the heck is wrong with saying ‘What the heck’?)
I’ve poured last year’s notes into a labelled envelope and the family memory jar is now empty and ready to be filled with more fantastic memories for the year ahead!
I’m also setting some time aside this week for my annual personal goal writing session. I’ve been doing this every January since 2000 and can give this process full credit for all I’ve achieved in the years since then. I haven’t run any marathons or climbed any (actual) mountains – my goals are more about how I want to feel and be in each area of my life. When I read back through my yearly goal writing notebook I can actually witness the slow but steady progress I’ve made in my self-awareness and personal growth over these past 16 years.
It’s like that evolution of man drawing of the crouching ape slowly becoming more erect and less hairy!
I’ve gone from a hard-done-by, very moody, wildly impatient, constantly frazzled, unfulfilled and confused mama into someone who I rather like spending time with now! And my family agree.
In 2012, as I was writing out my goals, an idea came to me to write a book called Project Me. That book idea eventually morphed into this very website. See how this works?!
In the comments below, share any family traditions you have around New Year. What do you think of the family memory jar? Also let me know if you’re a Goal Digger – or if you’d like some help becoming one!
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