Things That Make Me Happy (then & now)

This post is brought to you by the fact that for the first time since starting this blog, I have a working scanner. Watch out!

I was an earnest and diligent journaler from about the age of 14 until I was 21. I stopped writing in journals rather abruptly in the fall of 2001 and I’ve always wondered if it was at all related either to the fact that around that time Bryan and I began dating seriously (as in, why bother writing pages and pages of silliness about boys when it appears that – don’t look now, BUT – I may have found the ONE?) or to the September 11 attacks (as in, what’s the point in writing down my silly little dramas when the entire world has gone to hell?). In any case, I wrote in journals for many years and then, suddenly, I did not.

My journaling was very straightforward: Hey Diary (no, I never actually wrote that, but may as well have), here’s the scoop, here’s how I feel about it, by the way it was SO hot/cold/windy today and I think tomorrow I’ll wear my gray sweater. Riveting, really.

But alongside the normal journals I kept one that was different. This one is like the Cliff’s Notes to all the rest. It spans about the same timeframe – a good decade of fantasies and infatuations – in a single volume. It was part scrapbook, part sketchbook, part resting place for godawful poetry. There are ticket stubs and magazine clippings and pages and pages and PAGES of copied quotations by everyone from Plato to Ani DiFranco (both immensely wise, by the way). It also has notes and lists – memos to my future self. Like this one, which I happened to discover this week (written circa 1994):

Major good luck, INDEED. I like the “I will be 31″ part. As if I would be so far gone in THE FUTURE that was/is 2011 that I wouldn’t even know how old I was.

Anyway, in this purple and celestial-printed unlined journal on the day after my fifteenth birthday, I wrote:

…to be continued, I wrote.

When? No continuation of this list exists anywhere that I know of. Until now.

Random Things That Make Me Happy (2011 Edition)

Getting the mail, staying home on Friday nights, red wine, having a good day with the kids, my iPhone, my favorite jeans, putting on make-up before going out, getting flowers from my husband, being home alone after the kids are in bed with good stuff saved on TiVo, paying someone else to clean my house, three-day weekends, going to the grocery store by myself, The Daily Show, a triple americano with 2% milk and one Splenda, my Bears t-shirt, my yoga pants, perfectly broken-in flip flops, having really good food in the house, Target, getting published in magazines, getting comments on my blog, a good hair day, talking to Sarah, talking to Nikki, my new boots, my red dress…

It’s so funny how little has changed, how much of me I was then, how much of that me is still here today. It’s funny, too, that I’m journaling again, in a way, on this blog. I guess the lesson is that writing stuff down allows us to see how much has changed, how much has stayed the same, and how little it really takes to be happy.

(For the record, I think it would still make me really really happy to do a triple pirouette. There’s nothing like completely nailing a turn.)

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13 Responses to Things That Make Me Happy (then & now)

  1. Erika November 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

    I absolutely loved this and can completely relate!

    • Sarah November 8, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      Thank you, sweet Erika. xo

  2. tracykcarson November 7, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    Wow. Apparently I shouldn’t read blogs at 11:30 at night after a day of hearing everyone else’s problems because I am bawling right now. Good Lord, I haven’t even had any wine tonight. I don’t know, I think the innocence of the list paired with the fact that it is still so much of who you are is really endearing. I have a rubbermaid (size large) box of all of my journals starting in 6th grade. Every. Single. One. They are sad and so not who I am today and I am so very thankful for that. My journals are heavy and burdened and carry the weight of lots of hurting years…so maybe I am reflective on that as well. But that fact that your journals (or at least this entry) projected with joy who you were then and what you would be like now is just so wonderful. It’s kind of hopeful in a way and for that I am thankful, especially for you.

    • Sarah November 8, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      I loved our conversations today. Thankful for you, new friend (and, long-lost soul sister)! :)

  3. Julia November 8, 2011 at 5:03 am #

    I love your blog and since it makes you happy to receive comments, here is one:)

    • Sarah November 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

      Thank you so much, Julia! I had no idea you were reading! (Yes, I realize that’s the deal with blogging – you never know – but still I’m flattered.) Hope all is well!

  4. Nikki November 8, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    I’ve been touching the clock at 11:11 to make a wish for as long as I can remember…just another reason why I know that long before we ever met, we were destined to be best friends. ♥

    • Sarah November 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

      MAJOR good luck this week! Love you! XO

  5. Laura November 8, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    I think that this is great! How cool to be able to look back and see that.

  6. joycherrick November 8, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

    Makes me wonder about what in the world is in my old journals – and if they made it through several “cleanings” in the bottom of my mom’s basement in Tennessee… I love how your 14-year-old self is talking to your present self. And, it’s almost 11/11/11 – hmmmm whatever shall you do?

  7. Chloe November 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    How lovely Sarah! I wish I had put things down so perfectly when I was younger. So grateful you started writing to share it’s wonderful to hear things put so simply. Love reading everything you have to say, improves my everyday. Love!

  8. Maggie November 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    I can’t stop smiling about the red scrunchy…scrunchies made me happy too. While I didn’t journal nearly as consistently as you, I have stacks of notebooks from 1990 – 1996. The only problem is that I’m terrified or maybe embarrassed to open them. Thanks for being brave and sharing your happy list!

  9. Courtney December 12, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    I love this. It makes me want to get out some of my old journals. It makes me happy to find that you & I are quite alike (except that the hippos in fantasia are much more likely to nail a triple pirouette than I am).

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