Good Things Jar – 2022

Looking at my stack of Good Things notes, I see that I consistently choose a coloured pen.

Happy New Year to you all, my beloveds! I wish so much good for you (for both of us, really). I wish for things to work out, and for health to improve, and for new things to show up in your life that are interesting, and I wish for more laughs than you were expecting. I wish for you to receive surprise affirmations. I wish for a wild creature to catch your eye. I wish for a fresh breeze to inspire you to breathe deeply.

What’s my state of mind right now, as I open the door into the next year?

I don’t feel that for me, 2023 is going to be particularly special in the scheme of things. It feels like one of those years where things are setting up in preparation for the next thing. Maybe in the way that book 2 in a series is not as exciting, but that’s because it’s setting the stage for the blockbuster book 3.

Or maybe 2022 was the setting up year, and that’s the feeling it has left me with right now. I don’t have expectations for the coming year beyond the usual. I don’t have any burning questions, or glaring unfinished business, or anxieties. No exciting plans for anything. It feels good though; don’t get the impression that I’m feeling melancholy. I would say it’s more like peaceful.

The biggest thing of all that I see coming could be huge: Pedro and I are planning to move in together. This is why I corrected myself earlier and said maybe 2022 was a setting up year to get ready for 2023. The timeline is not certain because we both have homes and we are not sure what steps should/could be done to keep/let go of our homes. I refuse to live in his home long term, and he refuses to live in mine long term. haha! And also right now the Real Estate market is sketchy. It is possible that these questions will cause the moving in together to be delayed till 2024. That is fine because we are both very careful, practical, and financially responsible people. We both seek a good decision over an emotional decision. But if we do share a home, it will be a dramatic change to my life. I have lived alone since 2011. I really like living alone. But after two years of dating, we are frustrated with the day-to-day complications of attending to “your house” and “my house,” which are getting in the way of us spending the time together that we would wish for.

My mother’s antique jar and the artwork wrapped around the outside.

Alright, that is enough thought exploration. Time for the task at hand. The beginning of the year is time to empty the Good Things Jar and look through and remind myself of the things that I thought of during the previous year that were so good I wrote them down.

I like this exercise because it keeps me more often in gratitude. I have always kept the jar in my kitchen, the room in which I spend most of my waking hours, so that I will see the jar every day and hopefully be reminded to stop and reflect on something positive. It honestly works for me.

We got the idea a long time ago, when my kid was still living at home with me and going to school. I put them in charge of decorating the Good Things Jar, and I still use the exact same jar with the exact same adornment today. Kellen was in middle school and going through a block printing linocuts educational section of art class, so that’s what new art we had at home at the time. We did a great job with going through the jar on New Year’s day and starting it up again, but since 2015 I’ve been inconsistent about reviewing the contents, and about posting, but check the bottom of this post if you want to see what I wrote in other years.

Last New Year’s was the first time I was back on track again. And now, I am still on schedule. Yay! Below I list every single separate piece of paper {commentary from today added in brackets and italics.}

  • 1-20 I am serious about learning Spanish
  • Mads & Romain {College friends. This was after a trip to Boston to visit them}
  • 1-22 Tara feels comfortable asking me for help. {Written before they began using their name Kellen}
  • 1-27 Pedro told me I am a genuine person and now I want to live up to that image.
  • 2-3 I have a great relationship with Tara.
  • 2-4 I am struggling to learn Spanish but I have not stopped trying.
  • 2-9 Racecar has spent many years with me and will spend a few more I think.
  • 2-9 I still want to grow, and it keeps me young.
  • My life is SO good.
  • 3-2 Racecar
  • 3-2 TikTok makes me laugh
  • 3-7 Pedro knows I am beautiful {I had to start over because the first piece of paper said Pedro thinks I am beautiful}
  • 4-5 I may have found a way to forgive my brother {It will come some day, but sadly I don’t remember what I meant here}
  • 4-8 Peeping chicks {They were living inside the house with me at that time.}
  • My kitty is 15 years old and still ok and still loves me.
  • I like my brothers more than anyone else in my family.
  • McMenamins!
  • 5-12 My land is so beautiful. {I mean my property where I live}
  • 5-11 The small hens and big hens are fine together. {I had worried so much}
  • 5-27 Racecar and I have shared many years together ❤ {After my cat got the diagnosis of kidney disease}
  • Working hard outside makes me happy.
  • 6-26 I love my small hens. (Just three now) {A hawk got one.}
  • 6-20 My property is beautiful and inspiring.
  • 6-26 Pedro and I have a more maturing relationship now. It is changing and it is good.
  • My Racecar still has a good life despite kidney disease.
  • Pedro is still crazy about me
  • I have SO many friends and so many of them are amazing.
  • 7-8 I am a good person
  • Chickens ❤
  • 7-25 I love my kids ❤ {Whenever I say ‘my kids,’ I mean Kellen and their partner Cameron}
  • 7-30 Pedro makes me so friggin happy. And calm.
  • 8-9 Pedro ❤
  • 8-16 I’m a member of the Belle Brigade.
  • 9-3 I always want more time with Pedro.
  • 9-26 Pedro is getting more handsome every day. {This is objectively true.}
  • 9-27 I have not touched a cigarrette in a whole year.
  • 10-3 Pedro has a pure spirit and honest integrity. He resists my manipulation but listens when I suggest.
  • 10-9 Kellen makes me proud. 🙂
  • 10-25 Kellen has the freedom to explore and express who they are.
  • 12-1 When I have enough, my instinct is to give the excess to others.
  • 12-12 Our relationship keeps getting better.
  • 12-28 Pedro was able to trust me again, after I hurt him.

That’s a lot. It’s way more than I usually write, and there’s some pretty personal stuff there. Well, I have bared my soul to you guys before, so if you didn’t like that about me you wouldn’t be here, huh?

A couple of favourites: I stayed tobacco-free for a whole year! Peeping chicks. How I re-wrote my slip of paper to say Pedro “knows” I am beautiful, because I struggle with low self esteem. I love my brothers. Wanting to grow and learn keeps me young, like studying stupid Spanish. I like that I wrote that Pedro is getting more handsome. He is! ha ha. I wrote “I’m a member of the Belle Brigade” in the last weeks coming up to our big race, which reminds me how much I love being a part of that purple girl tribe.

Thoughts that came to me while reading these:

  1. I mention the beauty of my land more than once. I love this place. It is a humongous amount of work to take care of it, and my next door neighbors are a constant headache, but I think the good outweighs the bad. If I move in with Pedro, our choice might be to sell this place, and I dread that possibility.
  2. I’m clearly still smitten with Pedro, which is excellent.
  3. I also revealed that I am a hard person to date (like the manipulation and hurt comments), and I am so grateful that Pedro accepts all of me and is willing to keep at our relationship.
  4. I actually wrote about Racecar three times before we went to the vet and found out she is sick. I must have known it in my heart.
  5. FYI, I am still studying Spanish, still struggling, and still motivated.
  6. I am still amazed and grateful that I have such wonderful friends. It’s the culmination of a project I began years ago because being an insecure introvert left me with tenuous connections to others, and I decided to change that. The effort is still hard for me, but the payoff is indisputable.
  7. I apparently like to append hearts to my messages.
  8. The October good Kellen things were after I sorted out my conflicted feelings of the continuing changes in who my transgender child is. I was very upset earlier, but not anymore.

On that note, my perfect online friends (online friends are an introvert’s favourite kind!), Have a Happy New Year! My love to you, and since I’m a hugger, my hugs to you.

13 thoughts on “Good Things Jar – 2022

  1. A big hug back to you, Crystal. I relate to your online friends statement. I hope 2023 will bring joy and blessings, even if nothing big happens, but the stage is simply being set for 2024 like you mentioned. I love your good things jar, as gratitude puts so much of life’s struggles in perspective. It is something Michael and I strongly believe in too. And perhaps the only way I can cope with the challenges of life in Portugal at the moment.

    1. Ha ha, yes, I thought you might relate to that bit. Gratitude is something I have to work on all the time. You and Michael are right that it’s key to a different (usually better) perspective. Your tenacity, hopefulness, and continued returns to peace at the quinta are inspiring, considering all the obstacles. Your posts were less joyous in 2022, and I can hear how things like perpetual separation and perpetual unaddressed paperwork are taking their toll. It will be such a resounding success when you and Michael win all your battles and the fruits of your labor pan out. The depth of the achievement will probably reach all the way into your souls. Just think of what a sweet time that will be. I only wish that as a New Year’s gift, I could tell you WHEN that would be. 🙂 I am eager to continue the journey with you, and grateful for how you have shared it with us.

      1. You are spot on, Crystal. The past year felt like I was stuck in some sort of Ground Hog Day movie. The bureaucracy and fact that there are so many loose ends with no end in sight is definitely taking its toll. There is a bit of movement again, so I do feel slightly more optimistic at the moment. Thank you for your encouragement and kind words. It is very much appreciated. 💛

  2. Great post! i appreciate reading your blog and how it’s mostly upbeat, good and gracious. That must be because you are an upbeat, good and gracious person. Yes, I know you ‘keep it real’ and an occasional post about a frustration might slip in, but that doesn’t diminish the good. Love the jar idea! Happy new year!

    1. Oh, Lenore, how kind of you to gift me with such a kind message of support and encouragement. I also use posts to make my opinions of what I think bloggers must be like, and I am flattered that you like the kind of person you see revealed here. I am inspired by your photography and your focus on the positive side of new things. So many people are unsettled by “new,” but “new” is what keeps you alight. 🙂

  3. Hugggs! I love you, my online introvert friend! And your handsome amante as well. 😀 How beautifully you weave your thoughts. I hope you don’t get to move. I hope hawks don’t take any more chicks. I hope your cat’s good life continues. I hope you keep filling your jar.

    1. Manja, you said all the right things! I share those hopes with you. Thank you for your years of friendship and for sharing in my joys with me. I hope your bestia’s good life continues. And I send my hugs and love to you and your very handsome Amore. ❤

  4. Big congrats on the no smoking. It’s been 20 plus years for me but one of the things I’m most proud of. Your jar sounds like the way I use my God box. Sort of. I wonder if I took some kind of inventory at the end of a year I’d find a whole lot of gratitude. It falls into my theory about letting go to make space for what is. Promise that you won’t spend too much valuable time waiting for the future. Today is so wonderful exactly as it is. Dream, of course, but always occupy the space you occupy. Magic lives there* Thanks for the thoughtful post 🧡

    1. Your comments are a compliment to this post, Bonnie. Thank you. I think your God box is similar in that we are using a simple physical construct to help us behave spiritually in the way that we want ourselves to behave. Mine is specifically for gratitude, and that’s why it ends up there. The ritual of going through the paper at the end of the year is like a reward for using it: I get one big burst of gratitude before discarding all the paper and beginning anew. “Today is wonderful exactly as it is.” This is a good lesson. Congratulations on 20 years of smoking. You absolutely should be proud of that! I miss smoking, and I gave it up grudgingly. I don’t allow myself many inappropriate vices, and so that one was special to me. I know it sounds ridiculous, but if I got a terminal diagnosis of something, I’d probably start up smoking again, haha! Though it’s bad for my health, I was never convinced that it was any worse than other things that are bad for my health, like living for years with perpetual anxiety and panic attacks and nightmares, till I got treatment for PTSD. My mother never smoked a cigarette in her entire life, then got lung cancer. I am convinced she died of stress and worry. I hope my motivation to stay tobacco-free continues, because it’s easier, and cheaper, and I smell better.

  5. I remember you writing about the good things jar before. I have my gratitude journal next to my bed that I write in each day that I’m physically able. Last night wasn’t one of those nights but I filled it in today. Under the weather a bit again. You have had a lot to deal with in the last few years with very little down time. Another move is probably something that really needs to be written about and talked about at great length. Finding common ground is hard. When you look for homes together, you learn so much more about each other than you can even imagine. I think all couples should do that before committing to a relationship. You find out there how well you compromise or get each other’s needs. If you can’t negotiate, you are done. I like the couples duplex idea. That’s close enough for me. 😉 The more gratitude we have in life, the more good can come in easily. If you come up with what will work for both of you, write it down clearly then watch it show up when you aren’t looking. Sometimes the best solution isn’t the one you think it will be. Take a deep breath and feel your way through this year. Sending love and big squishy hugs to you. M

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