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Here’s something most people don’t know: I was a highly anxious kid. I worried so much, in fact, that my mother determined it was a problem that needed to be fixed. A fixer of the highest order, she may have over-fixed me, but being a low-anxiety optimist hasn’t served me too poorly. Thanks, Mom.

booksI’m sure she harnessed a variety of actions to teach me to manage my anxiety and pessimism, but the two I remember the most are getting me a set of worry dolls and buying me the book, 14,000 Things to Be Happy About. I read the whole thing. I even took notes in the margins, including different colored dots to note how each item made me feel. It was just a long list of items, including such minutia as, “the position of your head as you bite into a taco,” but it truly changed my perspective on life. I wish I still had that book with my notes and all of its creased pages, but since I don’t, here are some things that I feel happy about today:

    • My elderly neighbor riding his bike past our house
    • When my husband puts milk in my coffee for me
    • Deciding there’s time for a walk
    • Sharpies
    • The Bischoff/Bobzien art gallery growing in my officeScan 132420004-1
    • Painting my nails while on the phone
    • When Lois tries to mimic whatever I’m doing
    • Texts with photos of my friend’s children
    • Listening to my husband type
    • Flowers I planted last year that haven’t died
    • Having a backyard
    • Seeing an email notification pop up in my non-work account
    • Deadline free days
    • Having everything the recipe calls for
    • Counting weeks to my nephew’s due date
    • Having a thing to run out and do
    • Photobooth strips scattered on my desk
    • The sound of Lois sneaking into the bathtub to hunt for soap
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