Since I was a little kid, I’ve had a happy box. My first happy box was decorated with the 101 Dalmations and had a lock on it like a treasure chest. Pretty cool. I would put anything and everything that I thought needed saving in there. I didn’t spend much time deciphering back then. I actually saved a leaf that one of my first boyfriends gave me. A leaf! We were in seventh grade, and it was sweet, okay. I also saved the first car air freshener I ever used (for some reason this felt momentous), the receipt from my first bra, and notes from friends. Remember, “What’s ↑ with u? N2MH.”
Now, I have a big red box that I’ve started saving things in at our house. I love how big and red the box is. Very Santa-esque. It feels like a large present every time I see it. I don’t pull things out of the box often, yet there is a comfort I feel just knowing I can. When I need to feel connected to the past or reminded of someone, I can open the box. This isn’t hoarding or clutter because it is neatly put away in the box. It is allowed.
The 2010 version of the “happy box” is the one I created as a folder in my e-mail. I started this on a whim, and it is the greatest upgrade in the happy box phenomena yet. Every time I get an inspirational e-mail or a hilarious you tube video sent to me, or both, I send it to the happy box folder. Jimmy has made it his personal mission to get more e-mails sent to the happy box than anyone else. The beauty of the electronic happy box is it doesn’t take up a bit of space, and it is so easy to access. I can click on the folder, flip through a few pages, and find the e-mail of my first ever acceptance into a literary journal. I can feel that pride rise in my chest again. I can find the first e-mail Jimmy and I ever exchanged, which makes me feel in awe and a warmth that’s unexplainable. The happy folder can change an entire day around. I have the first photo I ever received of our new niece, Isabella, in my happy box folder and a response from a wonderful poet friend, telling me how much she enjoyed something I wrote.
If you don’t have a happy container, I strongly suggest you get one. However, if you don’t have a happy folder, you must create one.
The happy folder also opens up a new view into your e-mail. You are looking for what to put into that folder, and that’s a great thing to be looking for. Our e-mail can become such a source of stress and overwhelm with work and bills (you get those electronically now, right?), so the happy folder adds a needed dimension to the whole experience. Give it a try. Let me know what you name your folder.