• Rachel Paige

Wind Chimes and the Color Purple

I have a Wreck this Journal and one of the prompts is “Write Carelessly Now.” One afternoon, after a rough few days, I wrote “Good Things Worth Recording” at the top of the page and started listing in tiny handwriting.

One of the first things I wrote was wind chimes.

Now, there are big things, like my parents, sisters, friends, and dog, and all of those made the list. But I wanted to focus on the small parts of life that bring me joy.

I posted a picture below so you can see how much there is, but here’s a few things I listed:

  • wind chimes

  • the color purple

  • scent of vanilla

  • fonts that look like handwriting

  • erasers that don’t smudge

  • bread

  • lines in the number 7 and letter z

  • bluebirds

  • hummingbirds

  • ALL the birds

  • laughing until it hurts

  • ice cream

  • the word “crisp”

None of these things are life changing, but they are all things I chose to notice. They are things that make life a little better and help remind me the world is a good place, despite all the brokenness and pain in it.

Many, many good things

A few days ago, life felt too heavy, so I did this exercise again with a friend of mine. She listed things like neon colors, lilies, and pandas. I said Christmas lights, hug-sized stuffed animals, and snow in street lights. All those things are so small, but I was grinning by the time we were done.

In that moment, I chose joy.

It can also be helpful for me to look at the day as a whole. For my birthday, my sister gave me a five-year memory book. There’s one page for every day of the year with five slots, so you can write the memories of each day for five years. I only list the good things, as much of it as I can.

Some days I have to write really small to fit everything. Other days I write things like “got to class on time” and “ate lunch.” But I’ve found that even when I think it’s been a terrible day, I always manage to fill the space.

I write my few lines every night. Every night, I choose joy.

I walk to work during the school year, and I only listen to happy music on the way. I want to go into work with a positive attitude even if I didn’t have one before. I turn on the happy music and I focus on it for the whole two miles.

Every walk, I choose joy.

I’m not saying you have to be happy all the time. However, we can choose what to focus on. We can choose to smell spring and look for smiles and hear birds. We can choose to find the good instead of the bad. We can choose to remind ourselves of the good things worth recording.

It can be hard to be happy. It can be hard to choose joy.

But joy is easy to choose when you look for it. Start small. Look for the small successes in a seemingly terrible day. Look for ways to create a positive mindset for yourself. Look for the little things.

Look for wind chimes. Look for the color purple.

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