Thursday, 9 February 2017

Keeping A Gratitude Journal

I started keeping track of what I do on a VERY rough basis last year, and it's been really interesting looking back at good days and bad days, and has helped me figure out some stuff about my life, what I enjoy doing, and what to avoid. But for this year I made a special effort to try and focus on the good things, so at the start of the year I bought a five-year diary to keep as a 'gratitude journal'. I intentionally went for the five year one rather than just a normal diary, partly because I wanted to be reminded of things in future years, and partly because it felt like I was making a real commitment to buy one that should last that long. 

I would love to say that I've filled it in every day at the end of the day, as was my original plan, but my memory is terrible so it blatantly didn't work out like that. HOWEVER, after filling in some blanks with the help of my Google calendar, I have caught up for the year now so I've at least got an entry for every day. Flicking back through it's been really interesting seeing what I've written down.

(Some days I write down something I'm grateful for, some days it's someone I'm grateful to. My mood varies!)

For a start, it's showing what an amazingly supportive set of colleagues I have. As a teacher, my job is incredibly rewarding but can also be hugely stressful. Working with people who will go the extra mile for each other really makes a massive difference here - in addition to my immediate manager, in particular, being incredibly great at helping me out with stuff there've been numerous other occasions when someone's really helped me. (Most notably a few days ago, when one of our amazing reprographics staff spent ages laminating resources for me to get them done in time for a lesson I was very nervous about.

And of course, it won't surprise ANYONE to know that the book community are in there A LOT. From the wonderful publishers who've invited me to some fabulous events already this year (Katherine Webber's launch was one of the best I've ever been to, thanks Walker!) to the incredible friends I've made while blogging; having a great circle of people where we can turn to each other when we need support makes a huge difference in my life, the people involved in UKYA are really amazing!

But actually, some of the things which stand out most are the gestures by people I don't know. For example, a few weeks ago I was having a terrible day, I'd been stuck at work late getting stuff ready for the next morning, and major issues with the buses caused by bad weather meant I ended up standing in the snow for an hour feeling increasingly cold and miserable. The bus driver who let people get on, waving on a couple of people whose Oyster cards weren't working so that they wouldn't have to face walking home or trying to find another method of transport on such a horrible night really reminded me how many wonderful, caring people there are out there. And after I somehow managed to lose a book I'd just bought at Cineworld while watching a film, their staff's promptness in finding it for me was much appreciated!

The one thing about a five-year journal for recording these kind of things is that - to keep the book itself a reasonable size - you only get a few lines a day. And while I think that definitely helps me to focus, it does mean that there's also a lot of people who I haven't noted down, just because some days I'm grateful to so many people, and for so many things! So I wanted to give a special shout-out to all the wonderful friends and colleagues I have, the people on my twitter feed who entertain and educate me with their amazing tweets, and all the awesome students I teach. (As far as I'm aware, none of them are likely to be reading this blog, but if anyone is - don't you have a mock exam to be revising for?!)

What are you grateful for so far this year? And do you keep any sort of diary? I'd love to hear about it, either in the comments or via Twitter! Tweet me @yayeahyeah and tell me.

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