My husband is really good at buying gifts.
I open this monologue with the above, carefully crafted sentence, and must clarify that my husband is really good at venturing to my Amazon wish list and adding all affordable and reasonable items to his cart. (I say reasonable because all items are not fair game- He couldn’t justify the giant teepee that I needed, for example, yet it resides, nevertheless, in my basement office. Yes, I purchased it myself. No, we do not have children, but I craved a cozy book/writing fort, complete with string lights, shag rug, and a plush pencil pillow found during one IKEA trip.) I digress. (Although all creative souls should go out right now and buy this pillow.)
When I post a new journal, coloring book, calligraphy set, etc. on my Instagram page, all of my friends comment that my husband is the most thoughtful gift-giver. I will let him have the credit, but ladies- Hook your men up with access to an Amazon wishlist, and allow them to create one as well. Gifting has never been so easy/ fun/ worth the money when you see them get excited about the video game you never would’ve gotten otherwise because the name was impossible to remember. (Bonus points when you buy the Deluxe Edition.)
There is a point to this scattered story, I promise. Christmas 2017: I received an amazing new weekly journaling book, called, “52 Lists For Happiness.” Although one is supposed to write in this journal every 7 days, I have many more workbooks to get to so I began with page 1 on Christmas Day. I like this book because it promotes introspection without needing to carve out ample time. I have started so many creative initiatives that have fizzled because too much effort was needed and at the end of a long day, writing is always the easiest thing to push aside. I need something that is quick and almost mindless until a habit is formed; once my brain is used to going to a creative space I can look at expanding on depth and duration. This book consists of 145 lists, and for the past week, I have really enjoyed waking up 10 minutes earlier than my usual alarm notification to have coffee and brainstorm at my kitchen table, sans technology. It’s like drafting a grocery list or the daily agenda, with more reward.
Today is New Year’s Day, so I woke up later than usual but still headed to my writing spot to review my newest list. With about 30 lines of list space, I was prompted to document “the greatest compliments and encouragement I have ever been given.”
Pen in left hand, I started to scribble down recollections of praise from two of my toughest critics, my father and my husband. When compliments come from them, I take pride in their sentiments- They are men that don’t inflate their words.
I wrote down an instance where the CEO of my current company e-mailed me, a short but sweet message straight from his i-Phone about how thankful he was to have me as an employee, wanted to recognize my unwavering work ethic. I remember how taken back I was that this incredibly busy man, running a company of over 2000 employees, took a few moments to applaud my efforts. It meant the world to me.
My mind then reverted back to a an email that was received a few years ago: The recollection immediately filled me with longing. At first glance, the outreach looked like a LinkedIn connection- I had been searching for jobs at the time and was on the site quite often, so it wasn’t abnormal to see a request from a stranger. But the content took me by surprise:
I found your resume while searching for marketing and culinary experience with the launch of our farm products via food trucks.
I read your Words and Spaces blog and only am emailing you to encourage you to continue to WRITE! You are very gifted in articulating your thoughts and capturing the reader in them. I wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors, but would emphasize again to continue to write and bleed your thoughts onto paper.
Job Title: Only to encourage you to continue writing!
Subject: Keep writing young lady!”
…That was without a doubt one of the best praises I ever received, because it was about something that was so dear to me, so personal… I am forever critical of my writing and am even more apprehensive about others reading my work. This stranger found my blog on LinkedIn, read through, and felt compelled to reach out beyond a simple blog like or comment. I was truly touched.
It is January 1st, 2018 and I am sitting in my bed, hours after completing my prompt, still thinking about the compliment that I received back in 2014. Back when I had a living, breathing, thriving literary space on the internet.
And I am moved to start typing. Expand on the list now tucked away inside the perfect journal that my perfect husband gifted.
Consider this Day One.