Looking back at 2019 with “Ruth’s positive jar and Ruth’s photo a day book”

I’m going to go back a little way for this blog, back to Spring 2019 but it will all make sense, I promise, so stay with me! Plus, it has a really good message for us all by the end.

On the 26th May 2019 I was sat in my hospital bed, in hospital and I’d been in since March 26th, so two months already and things were tough, medically it was all over the place. See my medical update blog if you want to know what went on in the admission from a medical point of view: http://ruthsbucketlist.co.uk/2019/07/23/medical-update-july-2019-a-lot-of-deterioration-but-a-lot-of-determination-alongside/

But as I was lying in bed, watching the world go by from my window, waiting for my next treatment I felt this strong urge to do something there and then, to document that moment as it had been two months and yes I hadn’t left hospital but still things had happened each day, I’d accomplished things, even if small and I was living, well some days it felt more like surviving but still I wanted to show that I was still living and grasping what life I could, even from my hospital bed.

So this is when I started two things:

1 – Ruth’s positivity jar for 2019

2 – Ruth’s photo a day book

Firstly, you are wondering I’m sure what even are these two things above? Well as I said I was determined to do something to show I was still living and I’m very much a visual person me so I wanted to do something that I could see, show and look back on. I started with the positivity jar and right there and then I got my pen and some paper out, my phone out and went right back to January and started to go through my photos (as like most of us I take a million and one pictures every day) and every time I came across something I would class as important to note down I would. Whether it would be an outing, a trip, an event or just something small that made me smile. I wrote it down, cut it out and then folded it up and put it in the jar. I continued this until I got till today, well that day, May 26th and then I looked around and wrote down ‘today on May 26th I started “Ruth’s positivity jar and have already wrote more than 20+ things down that I’ve done/have happened this year and will endeavour to continue throughout the rest of the year, every time something good happens no matter how big or small I will note it down!” Then I cut it out, folded it up and like the others put it neatly in the jar. Then I sat back and admired my work, I felt so proud of myself for actually doing it there and then and when I felt down I knew I could go into the jar pick one out and remind myself of all the happy times. It was also so great to see on my hospital table, amongst all the other clutter there it stood proudly, colourful and with lots in it already, a job well done I think?

So that was my first project, what about my second one, the photo a day book? I mean this is literally what it says on the tin, it is a book and every day I put a photo in it. Simple.

No, it really is that simple! So to put a little background to it all, anyone who knows me knows that I love being creative, I am awful at drawing like cannot draw at all but I do love to write (hence the blogging) and I love to document, to scrapbook, to collect memories, its something I try so hard to do but sometimes it can get so frustrating as all the time when I was younger I would want to start a diary, attempt, manage for a few days, maybe a few weeks if I was lucky but then I would miss a day, or two, get behind, get stressed and end up stopping and all I ended up feeling was frustration against myself that I’d given up and I could never seem to sustain it. In actual fact I know now I was just being way too hard on myself (as I always am and very much was as a child too). So having this project where I could do it at my own speed, write as much or as little as I want and always include a photo felt perfect and really fitted me as a person too. Just like the jar it was simple, every day I put a photo on the page and wrote a few words whether it be a photo of me going out with friends, to family, to me and Willow cuddling in bed to my meds to the sunshine or rain outside, just documenting my days using photos. We all take so many and that defiantly includes me but then what to do we do with them? I’m old fashioned and a very visual person so I love looking back, seeing and touching the photos, having them to treasure and hold. It’s also really simple to keep up because you don’t have to write much at all, if all I want to do is stick the photo in and write, “long day, really tired, lots of pain so snuggled with Willow and watched a film” then that’s okay and because I always have a photo with it the photo says it all. I print out the photos using my very handy little gadget which is my mini Sprocket HP printer, there is lots of different brands of these mini printers on the market but I love my Sprocket HP because not only does it print out my photos, via Bluetooth connected to my phone, but every photo has a sticker back so I don’t even have to use glue I just take off the sticky back and stick it in my book and I’m done! You have to keep buying the paper as needed but the actual investment I think is an absolutely fantastic one and if you think you will really use it and like scrapbooking, printing pictures and being creative this really is a brilliant gadget to aid you!

My photo book is something I’m really proud of and to look back over this last year, well last year now, and see that every day I have done something even in my six months in hospital, every day we are getting up and facing the day and especially when you are battling long term health battles that really is something to be proud of and anything on top is a bonus.

I’ve attached a link to a video I did specifically on New Year, the struggles we face and show you what my actual photo book and positivity jar look like! So take a watch and let me know what you think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_TvM1nOTag

Happy New Year Everyone and thank you for all of your support, it is appreciated so much.

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