It breathes. Well, it doesn’t literally breathe, as we do, taking air into our lungs, inhaling and exhaling. But it breathes, in that it is alive, pulsating with the beat of my life. Ba-dump, ba-dump. Changing, growing, evolving. A representation. An extension.
I say I am not a sentimental person, but then someone picks up my notebook, and tucked away in a pocket, they will find a business card from a restaurant, and I immediately think back to a great conversation over wine, music playing in the background. I remember it clearly, as though it were yesterday. And it makes me smile. I need that. The singer was amazing. She seemed old, but her voice was still full of life, sultry and sensual.
I run my fingers over the vinyl letters that spell out my name and think of a wonderful group of women, who came together to talk about gratitude, and I am prompted once again to think about gratitude and what a tremendous difference it can make in people’s lives. It has such a profound impact on ours. Though, I realize we’ve been slacking a bit with keeping our gratitude journals. Tomorrow should be an easy night. I write a reminder to myself. Write gratitude.
People always ask about the brass clip of the front of my notebook. The small script writing promises some meaningful quote, but no. It is simply the company information of the manufacturer of the clip. And yet, brass reminds me of so many things lately. Mostly it reminds me of Aidan’s trombone and amazing talent. It reminds of the way my heart lifts when I hear him playing jazz. I am in awe.
I am in awe of language too. I am moved by language and quotes. They are everywhere in my notebook, tucked here and there. Aidan, my oldest son, printed out beautiful ones on ivory business card paper and tied them with a bow for Christmas. It was one of my favorite gifts ever. I rotate them, finding ones that resonate at the moment and making sure they are visible. I am inspired daily by these words of wisdom. Reminders to reach higher, to be grateful, to be courageous, to be kind, to adhere to my core values.
There are photos of the three of us everywhere. I can never remember taking or printing so many and yet there they are. I’m grateful for that. Taekwondo, the Ice Festival in Central Park, snuggles on the sofa on Christmas morning. These memories make me so happy. To me, the family is everything, the reason why I push so hard, work so hard, attempt to become a better version of myself every day.
I can’t recall where I found the tiny plastic envelope, but it turned out to be perfect for capturing and displaying the glitter that a much younger Cormac gave me for Christmas. What did my sweet boy think I would do with glitter, a craft supply of which I am not a fan? I actually think glitter should be outlawed. Isn’t there a company that will send an envelope of glitter to an enemy for a fee? Ah, but this glitter was given out of innocent, sweet love, the kind that only a little boy can have for his mother. And so, glitter was the perfect Christmas gift. I’ve captured it in this tiny envelope and look at it every single day. And it cannot get away and get all over my stuff. I love my glitter.
My folder is covered with stickers from the Hong Kong Tramway, Traveler’s Factory event in Hong Kong, City Super x Log On. My dear, dear friend, Steven, made the trek on my behalf, while on vacation. He took a good portion of his day to pick up a notebook for me but surprised me with stickers and washi tape. For a long, I saved these things, unable to bring myself to use them because they were “special.” Then one day, I couldn’t find them I search everywhere. I was frantic. I choked back tears, quite saddened because someone had gone to a lot of through to procure those items for me, and I’d lost them. It occurred to me then, that if I had used the things he’d brought for me to enjoy, I would likely still know where they were. Now I use the special limited edition merchandise I get, as I should be using the things that make me happy.
A tiny envelope, stuck as seeming decoration on my kraft file, contains a date that corresponds to one of the sweetest, most touching moments in my life. And my mind is like a sieve. Because the date is tucked away in the tiny envelope, it’s also committed to memory. Some days, I open it up, running my finger over the date and remembering.
I put a lucky courage dragon tattoo on my lambskin zipper porch. How could I not? It was sent to me by Sherry Stewart and I wanted to put it where I could see it. I hope it stays on a while before it wears away completely. I hope it brings me luck. It does remind me of Sherry and our special friendship.
“Arigato,” the impression of a custom-made stamp by Frido, husband to Wakako of Baum-kuchen, can be found in my notes. It reminds me to give thanks and I can reach inside the olive linen pouch and write a thank of note on one of the notecards tucked inside. It also reminds me of how thoughtful people like Wakako and Frido are around the holidays.
Be selective about the things that you keep. But keep things that tell your story. The positive one. The one you want to remember. We tend to easily remember the bad things that happen to us, but for most of us, a lot of great things happen throughout the course of any given day. In this way, the artifacts serve as great anchors and reminders to live your best life.