Thankful Thursday 27 February 2020

It’s almost the end of February and it’s a Leap Day this year?! I like an extra day.

I’ve been participating in Soundtrackers for this month and Saturday is the last day. I’ve participated each day and on Saturday, I will post the songs I used for the month, but I won’t post the stories. I’m thankful I got my mojo back this month and I am looking forward to writing for NaPoWriMo in April. It’ll be a busy month and this year I’m committed to completing it in full. I haven’t completed NaPoWriMo since 2017, and since this year I am feeling 100% better, I am pushing myself to. I’m grateful for friends who have been encouraging me.

I had down time at work today and I worked on tomorrow’s entry for Soundtrackers. Let me share it with you:

I was refused from Canada, but it wasn’t the end of the world. In fact, being rejected and working through health issues helped me build resilience. Plans have changed, but a well-lived life is a journey with twists and turns. I loved listening to Nan’s, Pop-Pop’s, and Great – Grandma’s stories. Every time I listen to the elders’ stories, they are accented by those twists and turns. Do twists and turns equal happiness?

I started the Happiness Box Project in 2016. It actually started as a jar and I started it five days early—at the tail end of December 2015, but it only fit three months. I was sad about that, especially when I opened the jar on 1-1-17 and I couldn’t read a whole year’s worth of notes.

I saw that I had a sweater box from the holidays and decided that I would create a Happiness Box for 2017. I decorated the box with travel photos from trips I took in 2016 and photos from magazines that sparked joy. I was excited for ’17.

I went overboard with 2017; I filled the box and the box top. Between getting invited for permanent residency to Canada on 1 March 2017, raising and saving money, travel to Baltimore twice, Washington, D.C. for the Juggalo March, being refused from Canada, health issues and how friends and family came together to help me when I was at my lowest.

I wrote about it all—a healthy life is full of all emotions, even “ugly” ones. Yet, there was gratitude in the downright low days. These grateful moments filled me with warmth and courage. Even when I felt unlovable, people still loved me. I could love the unlovable parts of myself too!

2018 was much the same, except my rule was one photo and note per day. I kept to it, even with travel: Washington, D.C. for the cherry blossom festival, Atlantic City for a Memorial Day trip (one day only), then Asbury Park and NYC later in the summer. With the liver issues, I wanted to cut back on stress; I worked my two jobs, spent time with friends and family, my family from Ireland visited, liver healed when I had to go GF. Again, some merry-go-sorry moments that filled me with gratitude.

2019 I kept the same rules, one photo, one note per day. I got my first tattoo in May, the second in November, those were both exciting times. I experienced new things, and life was still filled with many merry-go-sorry moments, including those involving Savage. I was and currently am grateful for those moments. I’m working on 2020 and can’t wait to see how the story unfolds.

I keep scrapbooks of the Happiness Box contents when I open them on 1-1. I hope when I look back in the future that I can be proud of myself and happy.

I am thankful for friends and family this week. What are you thankful for?

Published by


Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

2 thoughts on “Thankful Thursday 27 February 2020”

  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    Your homegirl, singer/musician Joy Ike from Philly, is brand new to my eyes and ears. Her music thrills me. On Joy’s official site, her style is described as follows: “The Nigerian-American, Philadelphia, PA-based artist crafts music at turns soaring and plaintive, draped around a voice all dusky suede. Fiery, free, and immediately arresting, Ike possesses a powerful instrument which she wields with humble virtuosity.” I wholeheartedly agreed with you when you wrote, “when I felt unlovable, people still loved me.” At our lowest that is something we need to remember and hang on to. Moreover you must always love yourself even when you feel unlovable. Thank you for recapping 2017, 2018 and 2019 and how you reinvented your Happiness Box year to year. I admire your strength, courage and resilience through all your difficult times and setbacks.

    Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend JM!


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