I recently started listening to the new podcast 100 Creatives. It’s the 100 Day Project of Sally Harris (don’t you just love how the 100 Day project can take SO many forms?). She is interviewing 100 Creative people (with an emphasis on creatives that are also doing the 100 day project), and to just jump into learning how to podcast.
In episode 12, Sally mentioned a tip she heard, “For big events in your life you should try and write down 100 details”, and I LOVE that idea. I am such a list taker. Where some people might be able to scrap book, I keep my season chalkboard lists, and where some people might use standard planners, I fill blank pages in my midori with to-do lists.
Ever since Oprah started promoting (probably in the 90s) the whole gratitude journal and writing 5 grateful things daily, I’ve often wanted and tried to do it myself, but could never stay consistent and would struggle to think of things that weren’t repetitive or seem cliche/schmaltzy. I even bought one of those 5 year journals to write down my lists in and still couldn’t do it.
BUT, the idea of writing down details though rather than gratitudes! That completely switches the approach for me. Instead of feeling this pressure to find something PROFOUND AND MEANINGFUL, I could just try to remember the details. I feel like if I remember a detail, there was probably something about it that I am grateful for. I’m not saying that all details will be positive, but even if not, they are probably still worth chronicling.
The comparison and differences in these two approaches seems HUGE to me. For example if I think of things I was grateful for yesterday, my list would be:
-Feeling loved by my niece and nephews
-Matt’s parents buying us dinner at the Thai Pav yesterday
-The work day going by quickly
-Getting my steps in early
-My mom wanting to give Matt a plate of black forest cake squares
And those 5 things were a struggle to come up with.
Now, if I approach it as a list of details
-All the laughing we did at work when Chris brought in his Alexa mannequin, it made the day fly by
-The responses I got on my facebook memory about getting the fluppy pup doll when I was a kid
-Calling my mom on the phone and talking to her about some of our creative projects
-Sheila leaving the kindest post on my fb page about our friendship being the best thing that the internet has done for her
-The bag of Bishop’s cat food was still available at the vet’s office, even though we neglected to pick it up for weeks
-I was able to go to the Y directly after work and get my steps in, leaving the rest of my evening wide open
-Matt and I deciding on a whim to check out the new Thai Pavilion location, inviting his parents and them being able to meet us there so quickly. It was effortless and spontaneous.
-Stopping by Geoff and Dacia’s to pick up more MST3000 kickstarter perks, and there was a really cool mug in it.
-Doc (7yo) being so excited to talk to me about Pokemon, he held both of my hands in his hands to keep my full attention
-Gemma (4yo) climbing up next to me to try and steal some of that attention and asking “Did you miss me too?” which I can only assume meant she missed me even though it’s only been a week or 2 since last time I saw her
-Gemma holding up her legs for me to grab her and hold her upside down, led Martin to claim “me next” and scampered over to the chair same chair Gemma had been in, leaned back and kicked his legs up the same way (as if that was the only way that I could do the same thing for him)
-Trying to hold Doc upside down too (getting too tall, he could put his hands on the ground and almost walk forward)
-Waving goodbye and Martin (1.5yo) was completely overcome and distraught with my leaving, he started crying immediately. As Matt said, he didn’t want the fun to end. It’s sad to see a child upset, but at the same time I realized it felt good to be so loved that when you leave, someone is so expressively overwhelmed with sadness.
-We had the rest of the whole evening to ourselves, and Matt sat on the couch with me, on his phone, while I watched a crime doc episode, until he remembered “we should watch the Norm MacDonald netflix special. It was good. I love Norm.
-I was able to post twice to instagram over the day and it felt fairly effortless. Sometimes it can feel like a struggle and if I don’t do it, it feels like something is hanging over all day… just another thing that (like my daily steps, both of which I adore, but) I have to get done before I go to bed.
The second list of details was easy in comparison, there are 3x as many, and the amount of information provided sets more of a mood and lays the groundwork for actually recalling the memory.
In a year from now, reading “-The work day going by quickly” it is just so flat, it could be any day. But in contrast, reading “-All the laughing we did at work when Chris brought in his Alexa mannequin, it made the day fly by” will evoke real memories and emotions. I will definitely remember that specific day!
I also love that this approach of recording details can be applied in so many methods. Does it really need to be 100? No. Does it really need to be reserved for special occasions? No. It could be used in scrapbooking, in journaling (writing/art), in daily social media posts and updates (facebook/instagram/etc.), on a chalkboard or dry erase board, on loose sheets of notepaper (raise your hand if you’re guilty of writing notes like this and the papers pile up everywhere, 🙌 🙌 🙌 ).