Personal: A Jar of Good Things

When 2014 began, I was hopeful that the upcoming year would be filled with some unforgettable memories. As a senior in high school, the next twelve months would lead me to saying goodbye to kids I had known since preschool and head to college. From senior show to senior week to graduation, I wanted to remember it all. I was also excited to see what college had in store for me. So with the DIY idea of a “jar of good things” floating around on sites like Pinterest and Facebook, I began the project as a way to keep track of all of these exciting moments.


    With the start of 2017, I have continued the tradition of a jar of good things to remind myself of the happy moments even when life gets a little tough. As I mentioned before, 2014 was filled with lots of happy endings and new beginnings: graduation, starting my freshmen year of college, and becoming an intern for Dream On Youth. 2015 was filled with a lot of firsts: writing my first blog post for Dream On Youth, finishing my first year of college, and my first visit to Vegas. 2016 was filled with experiences: having floor seats for Ellie Goulding, spending a week in Fort Lauderdale relaxing by the beach, and going back to my happy place, Disney World. Although I’m not sure what to expect heading into 2017, I already can’t wait to open up my jar on December 31st to reminisce on all of the happy memories.


    Want to start keeping track of your own memories? The jar of good things DIY is very simple! All it takes is an empty jar, some decorations of your choosing, and some slips of paper. For my jar, I wanted something that was on the smaller side, but still had plenty of room to fill up. Don’t have a extra jar laying around? Switch out the jar for a small box. No matter what style you choose, I recommend getting something that you can keep closed with a lid or a cover. Going through your memories at the end of the year won’t be as special if you’re tempted to read them half way through the year because your jar is open! 


    Once you’ve picked your jar, box, etc., now comes the fun part: decorating! I kept my jar super simple, going with a neat, typed-up label that can be switched out each year. However, that doesn’t mean you have to! Whether you want to use paint, fun stickers, or keep it simple like mine, the design can be as personal as you want it to be. Once your jar is decorated, you can begin filling it up! At the beginning of each year, I cut up a large sheet of paper into smaller pieces so that way I have a supply ready when something comes up and I want to write it down. You can use anything for this step, from regular paper to sticky notes to construction paper. I recommend keeping the paper proportionate to your size jar (ie. smaller for a small jar) so you have enough space to fill up with memories. On the slips of paper, make sure to note the date and your good thing, keeping it specific so that way you’ll remember the moment at the end of the year. This past year, I also began adding small items in my jar with my good things. For example, when I went to see Ellie Goulding, we were covered in confetti that I was still finding days later. I ended up collecting all of it and adding it to the jar. 


    Recently, I came across some other ideas for this jar project, including a travel jar or a family jar. With the travel jar, for example, you can cover your jar with flags of the countries you hope to visit or add some travel decals like airplanes and suitcases. The family jar gets the whole family involved, allowing each member to put in their own good memories. Add pictures, names, or special sayings to your jar to make it unique to your family. The jar of good things project can also be turned into a gift! Start a jar for your best friend, writing down little accomplishments that you notice and personalize the jar with things that remind you of them. Give it to them for their birthday or another special day. They’ll be blown away by all of the things you’ve noticed and thought were important, even if they didn’t realize it at the time.


    Whatever project you decide to take on this year, stick to it! The year can be filled with some rough patches which can cause you to only focus on the negatives. I mean 2016 was a pretty rough year altogether, but we got through it! With the jar of good things project, I’ve learned to find some joy in every day that passes. Each night, I think about my day and look for the good things. Maybe I passed a test that I studied hours for or maybe I spent some quality time with a friend. I’ve come to realize that even the smallest things can cause a moment of happiness that you’ll look back on and smile when you go through your jar at the end of the year. Writing this post for all of you is a small moment going in my jar because it’s a reminder as to why I applied to DOY in the first place years ago. Be proud of all of your accomplishments, even the smallest ones, and take a moment to appreciate them.

Mika Matias