When I was in my 20s, I had a roommate for most of a year who had what she called her glory box. It was a small wooden, rectangular box with a hinged lid that held a variety of things that made her feel good.
So when Jan felt down, or was having a bad day, or just needed a lift for whatever reason, she would pull out her glory box. She'd look at her assorted treasures from favorite places or favorite people, and she'd read letters she'd received that complimented her or told her how much the sender appreciated her. And that made Jan feel better
When I was cleaning out my file drawers last week, I came across what amounts to my own glory box. Only this was a file folder labeled "correspondence" that was full of notes of appreciation from folks I met over the years while I was doing a story about them. So I read through the all again, remembering those days and how pleasant it was to visit with these folks who were generous enough to give me some time and to tell me about their favorite cause or their new business or their favorite hobby/collection/person.
Of course, I must admit here that I couldn't place everyone who had written me a note. But then some of the correspondence had been in that file for 15 to 20 years, so maybe that's not so bad. Even if I couldn't exactly recall who had written to me, what I read did make me feel good, just like the contents of Jan's glory box did for her.
Having a glory box of some form or other is really a fine idea, one that I recommend.
Further along on this memory lane trip through my files, I came on several folders from the school years of my children, so that was fun. Here was a random Jean report card, there was a summary of results from standardized testing, a note from a teacher to tell me that Will had completed his application to his college of choice that day (at last!).
Then came files of college application letters and scholarship award certificates. I also saved some of the dreaded tuition bills (marked paid). I must have kept those just to remind me of what we could accomplish even though it seemed terribly daunting at the time going in.
In spite of this evidence, I don't consider myself much of a saver. I generally don't keep things just to be keeping them. But after my recent journey down memory lane via my file drawers, I have to admit that there are some things that one just needs to keep. They just may bring with them a very valuable perspective later.