It has become a habit of mine, or a personal ritual, to make an annual list about this time of the year.
Each of the past three or four years, I’ve taken an ordinary sheet of paper and marked a line down the middle. It serves as a review.
On the left-hand side I write down the negative aspects of the year, things that held me back, or things that continue to bother me.
On the right-side of the page (because it feels right) I begin listing all the positive aspects of my life; accomplishments, events, memories and people. There is no order, but each item I write down has a reason for being there.
There is a great deal of thought involved.
Once the list is completed and I’ve covered all the major points, I tear it along the line.
I then take the ‘negative’ side of the paper and tear it into a million tiny pieces and toss it in the recycling bin, or hold it to a candle and let it burn.
This, to me, signifies an end to those thoughts. It clears my mind of all that negativity and leaves space for the more pleasant thoughts I like to have.
It’s freeing, emotionally; it allows me to leave negative thoughts behind, for a while.
I then take the ‘positive’ side of the list, tuck it into an envelope and mail it to myself in the final days of the year.
It’s like sending good thoughts forward.
When the envelope arrives in the next year, I tuck it into my journal. I’ve got a few letters to myself in a few different journals. So far, all of them are unopened.
I keep them in the journal thinking I may some day need a reminder of the good things I’ve got going on in my life.
We all need reminders.
We all need lists.
This year my list will be different. It has been that kind of year.
Again I’ll take a piece of paper and draw a line down the centre, but this year I am thinking positive.
On the left-hand side of the sheet, I am going to write down all the ‘positive’ things I have managed to do this year. Sometimes, in all this negativity, it has been easy to forget some of the good things.
On the right-hand side of the page, I’m going to list the things I never had the chance to do this year, or things I wanted to do but was unable because of COVID-19.
We’ve all been denied opportunities this year because of this coronavirus. We haven’t been able to meet up with friends and family as readily, if at all. We haven’t been able to hug, or kiss, or even shake hands. Our travel has been restricted. Heck, for most of the year I haven’t been able to get to the library.
It has been more than an inconvenience. Each of the things I couldn’t do will be listed. When I complete my list, I will again tear it in two, but I will not destroy the left-hand side as I usually do.
I will instead tuck the one side of the list into my 2020 journal as a reminder that good things could still be accomplished, or completed, even undertaken in the midst the turmoil that has been 2020.
It will take more than a pandemic to stop good things from happening.
I will then take the right-hand side of the list, fold it up and tuck it in an envelope, select a nice stamp and mail it to myself.
And, this envelope will be opened.
When all of this is over, when we get past the danger of this virus, when all of this is behind us, I will then open the letter to myself, be reminded of those things I have missed out on in 2020 and then set out on the task of completing everything I have listed.
I will do these things for myself, to show myself or prove to myself that I will not let this virus take away any more than it has.