Every year, towards the beginning of the new year or the end of the old, I read the scruffy scraps of paper in my joy jar. Into it, as a conscious (and mostly successful) attempt to lift occasional depression, goes a note of anything that gives me joy during the year; often written in purple ink with a favourite fountain pen kept for this purpose.
2019 – despite, or perhaps because of, the politics – turns out to have been an epic year; I could barely jam all the slips into a large envelope. There were no spectacular highlights, except perhaps for publishing two books at Christmas, and seeing the novel stay near the top of its categories for a whole week and counting; but there were so many minor joys that I loved revisiting.
A frequent theme was wildlife – being buzzed by buzzards, hares lolloping towards me before startling into a handbrake turn, goshawks and kestrels filling the skies. The birds in my garden feature, too; a wren scolding me for pruning some ivy, a whole flock of goldfinches feeding on last year’s lavender heads, with a stern injunction written to myself to tidy up later this year.
There are many things that I’m not looking forward to this year – but discovering the many small pleasures ahead is definitely one of them!
I hope that you and yours find joy in the year to come, whatever the challenges.