Silver Lining

photo courtesy of steve rokks.

photo courtesy of steve rokks.

I’ve kept journals since junior high. It was something that became immediately important to me when my sister and I discovered my mothers old journals and read her life from her POV instead of all the stories we had heard growing up.

She passed when I was younger, about 3 years old, maybe 4, and I can’t honestly remember a thing about her. Not the sound of her voice without it being from an audio recording, the warmth of her smile save for a few photos and home videos, and I’ll never know the smell of her perfume or softness of her touch. Super sad, right? Well, I had a wonderful childhood anyway, my grandmother made sure I never felt like I had missed out on anything. But still, the occasional, “You act just like your momma did,” or, “Your sister looks just exactly as she did,” inspires curiosity, and naturally, I asked questions. But to read the same stories from my mothers perspective, changed everything I ever thought about this perfect woman.

She went from being a celestial being to someone relatable, someone I probably would have talked about boy problems with, asked to teach me to do my make-up and hair, how to shave my legs, and how to dress my age but still be attractive. She became more of a friend in her journals, and when she was my age, she had many of the same questions of life and stresses, she was just so rad.

So, I decided, that just in case something were to happen to me, and with the hobbies I’ve found it’s getting more and more likely that I really will fall off a mountain, I needed to keep a daily or just weekly log of my thoughts and feelings. I would want my children to know what kind of person I was too. But what kind of person did I want to be? Inspiring? Relatable? Comforting?

Every single journal I have has two words written on the first page, Stay Positive.

I eventually began signing each page with these words, mostly as a reminder to myself, just stay positive. I shared this with my best friend, Hannah, who turned me over to the book, ‘The Happiness Project,’ by Gretchen Ruben. (An excellent read for my book worms!) I began my own happiness regime, including a positivity planner. Just a weekly record of higher vibes, and nothing more. Somewhere that stress and doubt couldn’t touch.

Eventually, the internet and mass industry stores began pumping out the idea, and I started purchasing journals that were specifically for positivity planning.


So here’s how planning happiness changed me;


1.   I began a small business on Etsy to clean up National Parks.

2.   I started each day with a clear head, and a better outlook.

3.   Because I wasn’t worried each morning, I was actually more productive.

4.   I had better relationships, just to share what joy I had planned.

5.   I stopped harming myself, because I could have something to look forward to.


It doesn’t take much really to just stay positive, but in the event of life going to shit, struggling to get van life going, and having to start over again, it’s all about the little things.

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Stay Positive.


KariDane Matlock