I have a little red binder I’ve marked “Happy Day: Stuff in my Life.” It’s a catch-all for those little mementos – letters, feel-good articles, newspaper clippings, etc. – that I want to keep forever but don’t quite know what to do with.
I tell you this at the risk of sounding corny. A “Happy Day” binder? You might say. “Seriously?”
But that’s exactly what it is. Because every time I take it out, page through it, glance at old newspaper photos, I smile. My day, in fact, is happier, when I spend time with that binder.
Here is a sampling of my binder’s current contents:
- a “just because” card from a longtime friend with a picture of a toy dinosaur lovingly biting a little girl’s nose (I know the little girl is happy because she is smiling)
- a short piece that outlines the “real meaning” of the 12 days of Christmas (holy cow, is there so much history there I never knew)
- an email to family and friends about walking in a 2004 Relay for Life, a fundraising walk for cancer research that, in this case, took place overnight. I wrote about how I didn’t want to do it at first, how I wasn’t a “night” person. I wrote about how glad I was I did it anyway, and how I realized through the process that I was walking in honor of so many people (and not just my college girlfriend, a cancer survivor, who had asked me to participate in the first place).
- an email from a hometown friend of mine, who had to share a can’t-stop-laughing moment with her circle. The story involves a little girl from New Orleans who, while shoe shopping with her mom, is overheard saying, “Hey, Big Tuna, I’m talking to you!” I am not kidding.
My binder so far contains mementos like these from 2000 up to now. Pretty soon, I will have to start volume 2.
Why, you might ask, am I telling you all this?
Because I wonder what we all might have in our own lives we could contribute to our own “Happy Day” binders. I draw so much inspiration from mine – writing projects, historical artifacts, pictures worth 2,000 words. Have you ever considered it?
What mementos from your own life might be worth preserving, to propel your own outlook into a happier, more energized state? What memories and pieces of your life might be worth holding onto, to better inform your present, your future?