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Year in Pixels

  • 4 min read

Hi, I’m Camille. I’m 27, and I live in France. I started Bullet Journaling in July, 2015. As a big fan of stationery, organization and notebooks, I easily adopted this system. A few months before that, I made my own agenda, but there always was a problem : how to deal with blank – or too short – spaces for my entries.

When I discovered the bullet journal system, it was a small revolution for me. I didn’t even finish my agenda and immediately grabbed the first notebook I had on hand. I had to start my first bullet journal.

The first months were a great pleasure using it. Meanwhile, I started to be interested into meditation, mindfulness, gratitude, and the main question we all want to answer : how to be happy?

During December 2015, trackers were a big trend on bullet journaling. I also read an interesting post on Tim Urban Wait But Why blog : “Your life in Weeks.”  

One night, I had an idea: how many days a year am I really happy? How many bad days do I experience during a year? Is it linked with the weather, work, my health? What if I decided to make a single picture with little pixels, one for each day, during a whole year, what would this picture look like? How will I track this? How could I make my days better?

Bullet journaling was a perfect system that I used everyday, and which could support a daily tracking of whatever I wanted. Therefore, I decided to create a special spread: the “Year in Pixels”. A simple grid, with 12 columns for the months, and 30 or 31 blocks or “pixels” for the days.

I chose 5 colors : red, orange, yellow, green and blue. This choice was very discussed with my friends and followers, because they often associated warm colors with anger, and colder ones with calm. I perceived things differently : warm colors for positive and heartwarming feelings, like love or joy, and cold colors for negative feelings.

The other question was: when we experienced so many different feelings in 24 hours, how to choose between two colors for the daily pixel ? The secret is that I don’t track my different emotions, but rather how I perceive the day in its entirety: emotions, feelings and events.

If I experience more positive things than negative ones during the day, the color of the pixel tends to be warmer. If I miss my bus but the weather is sunny, if I have a drink with a friend and received compliments on my dress, the day would be orange or red. If nothing special happens, the pixel is yellow.

Finally, if it is raining a lot, if I had to work late and burned myself with some tea or heard bad news from my family, the pixel would be green or blue.

That’s how everyday I rank those little events : I ask myself if the glass I broke this morning was more important than spending some time at the restaurant with my best friends; did it really change my day?

After a hard personal beginning of the year 2016, I started to practice gratitude, meditation, and mindfulness everyday. And that’s how I started to fill my pixels with more orange and red : I decided to focus more on positive things and give them a bigger significance in my life than negative ones.

If my friend is late for our appointment, it’s a perfect chance to spend some time looking at the sky, or examine the details of the window display of a shop. If my car broke down, it’s a great opportunity to save on gas and enjoy a bus ride without having to focus on the road.

It was quite easy to color a little block every night when I was preparing my dailies for the next day in my bujo. Writing things in my Bullet Journal and the ‘Year in Pixels’ helped me a lot to deal with the way I decided to live and how I perceived every single day, and even further, how I perceived my life.

When I looked back at  my 2016 grid, with the 6 last months with a lot of red and orange pixels (I got fired from my work during this time, can you guess when did it happen if you look at my grid ? 😉 ), I knew I didn’t need to make a new one for 2017. Today, with the help of my bullet journal, being more aware of the present moment in my life and noticing positive things are just the only things I needed to be truly happy.

About the Author:

Camille is a French community manager and sometimes faculty teacher. She worships the Stationery and Notebook gods, spends her time making lists and organizing things to live her life at its best.

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