#1,000 The Best Things.
by Erin Napier
So I’ve written 1,000 entries about the best thing that’s happened every single day since I started this blog on Friday, January 1, 2010. That was my first day of self-employment and it was the coldest winter I can remember. And the happiest, too, maybe.
I spent a lot of time thanking God for giving me such a great gift, allowing me to decide what to be and go be it. I never worried about money, if we would starve when I left my day job. I focused on spending time doing what gave me and the people around me joy. I cooked. I taught an art class. I joined a women’s Bible study. I traveled. I took time off when I needed it. I walked every morning, I spent time with my parents, I made things. I changed my life, and vowed to never forget that even on the worst day, there was at the very least one thing to be thankful for. I decided that documenting it here would hold me accountable because I am stubborn and strong-willed if nothing else, and I refuse to quit once I start something.
I found that on bad days, and believe me, regardless of what you read here there were some bad days, I would consciously try to search out the good or make good things happen so I wouldn’t be empty-handed at night when it came time to document the results of the day on this blog. My life is not as charmed as you might like to imagine, as people often tell me it must be from what they read here. In the days since the beginning, people I loved have died, Ben and I argued and hurt each other’s feelings, business was bad, I felt uninspired, I worried about things out of my control. But I have to make the conscious decision to forget those things, the messiness of life. I have to make the decision to be kind to people who aren’t kind to me. I have to proactively do, find, and be whatever it is that gives me joy rather than just wish for it. In writing this blog, I’ve chosen to make a sunny corner of the internet where I can remember the beautiful moments. Later, after time has smoothed over the bumps, it will seem like those moments were entire days and it will leave no room for the sad things in my memory. There is no point in rambling on about what you hate in this life. There’s just not enough time for that.
There’s a quote by Emerson that I love and think of literally every single day. It says, “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
Someday I will no longer feel it necessary to document the best things anymore. I hope they will become too normal for me, they will become the meat instead of the garnish. This is, after all, an exercise in focusing on what matters in the time I have to spend on this earth, in this body, and one day I think I will become so comfortable with the good, that I will no longer have to write it down for the public to see and affirm. But when that day comes, I’ll have these words and stories and pictures of when Ben and I were young and in love and figuring out how to become who we are, when he and I were just two and not three or four. And I’ll be proud that I did this, because then it’s immortal, these happinesses and gifts that have happened along the way, out here written in the abyss of the internet and inscribed on my heart forever and ever. They say writing things down makes you remember it, don’t they?
I think that these are some of my most favorite times in our life since the beginning of this adventure:
I learned what it meant to really live.
I bought something I’ve always wanted with my own hard-earned money.
We took our first road trip that we’ll never forget.
Ben made me feel loved on my birthday.
We went to the most magical city on earth at Christmastime.
I finally wrote down the story of the week we met and fell in love.
We took a romantic mid-winter beach trip.
Our parents gave us invaluable lessons.
I remembered how it felt to be 16 in the summertime.
My best friend got married.
My work gave me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with a cool client.
We bought our house.
Then we renovated it.
We got dogs that make us laugh and shed a whole lot.
We took our first New England adventure in the autumn.
We had a perfect Saturday in the park.
We took a chance and gave away our money.
I realized the urgency of spending time with my precious grandmother.
Jesse went to college, which took us there too.
But I’m not done yet. For those sweet people who are reading, many secretly, a few publicly, I’d like to thank you for visiting here. I hope it’s made you feel something good, made you smile, and made you see that the world isn’t so grim as we might imagine. There are great people out there and many adventures to be had.
So what are you waiting for?
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I’m Erin Napier, co-owner of Laurel Mercantile Co. and Scotsman Co. with my husband, Ben. I’m an artist and he’s a craftsman and we help people moving to our town find and restore old houses on HGTV’s Home Town. In an effort to count my blessings, this journal has documented only the good things that happen on each and every day of my life since January 1, 2010. I am a wife, a daughter, a homebody, a bubble bath lover, a book reader, a sentimental, stressed out, slightly obsessive southerner. Welcome!