By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Watch out!  They're everywhere this month.

Watch out! They’re everywhere this month.

So, here we are at the beginning of another year.  You might expect me to write about my new year’s resolutions or, like last year, what I won’t do this year.  Apparently there are a lot of people who have made resolutions because just last week on the way to work I saw THREE joggers on a street that has been devoid of all human movement for a year. And my husband reported that our gym has been packed all week.  I’m taking his word for it and steering clear.  After all, it’s flu season and who knows what I could pick up in a gym.  Sitting on the sofa eating Doritos seems a whole lot healthier when you really think about it.  So while the rest of the world is working diligently on their new year’s tasks, I’ve decided that I’m done with resolutions. I’ve finally come to accept that I’m not going to keep any of them so I’m saving myself the trouble this year by skipping the whole process.  Sure, I could resolve to drink wine and eat chocolate but that seems like cheating the whole system.  Still, it seemed strange to start a new year without any  thought to how I might mark it.  And then I stumbled on the “Memory Jar”.

Frankly, I don’t remember where I read about the “Memory Jar” because, well, it was last week and I’m at an age where I can’t remember if I ate dinner last night.  The concept of it is to remember all of the important, and not so important, events of a year.  Then, on December 31, when you say “Gee, what in the heck happened to 2015?”, you can go to the jar and remind yourself.  In other words, instead of actually jogging this year, you will be figuring out a way to jog your memory instead.   So for those of you who share my memory challenges, here’s how you can create your own Memory Jar 2015.

First, let’s be clear that this is NOT a device to remember that you got married, had grandchildren or any other major life event.  If you’re beyond remembering those highlights perhaps rather than reading the rest of this blog your time might be better spent investigating “homes”.  We’re just going to assume that you’ll remember the BIG stuff.  The Memory Jar is for all of the little things that happen that tend to be forgotten as the weeks and months go by. Although, frankly, it’s YOUR jar so far be it from me to tell you what to put in it.

A colorful Memory Jar

A colorful Memory Jar

You’ll want to find a fairly big jar – a year can be a long time and you don’t want to run out of room.  An empty container from Costco might be just the ticket.  You can decorate it or not, but you at least should label it “Memory Jar” so that no one uses it for a urine sample before you can fill it up.  Then the fun begins.  Write down the things that make you laugh or bring tears of joy,  basically any moment that you don’t want to forget, then put the slip of paper in your Memory Jar.  You can make note of things people said or did that seem memorable.  For example, grandkids are always coming up with some funny phrase.  Ours once said (after asking my husband’s age) “Gee, you’re really tall“.  Of course he meant “old”.  We still laugh about it and now I wish I could remember how old he was when he said it.  If I’d had a memory jar I’d have my answer.  A memory jar is also a great place to put theater or movie tickets, perhaps with a notation of where you went to dinner that night or who you were with.   Or maybe the cork from a bottle of wine you shared with good friends.  You can put their names, the place and the date on the cork and just slip it in the jar.  The “jar” is also a good place for a photo or newspaper clipping that you want to remember.  You get the idea – put anything in there that brings you joy in the moment.

Then next December 31 open up your jar, either alone or with family and friends, and read or view each piece of paper.  Hopefully it will provide some good memories, laughs and maybe a tear.  In any event, you won’t have to wonder where the year went – you’ll know!

As far as New Year’s traditions go, I’m thinking that a Memory Jar sounds a whole lot better than jogging.