1 month ago
Sunday, January 23, 2011
930 Things to Be Happy About
Happy New Year! January weather is very often too 'wintry' for me-- dark, dreary, wet, cold. Without the anticipation of any holidays to perk things up a bit, January for me is a slow month of let-downs. It's far too easy to start obsessing about little things and get down in the dumps when you have dreary weather outside to match. How easily one loses perspective.
Last week I was feeling sorry for myself for several reasons. Resentful, even. It took me until today to give myself a little shake and to remind myself that my problems are too upper-middle class to be taken seriously. That is, they are not real problems.
I was rummaging around in a storage closet tonight and discovered something that I hadn't thought about it years; I had no idea I still owned it. It was my huge 930 Things to Be Happy About poster that I bought in Fall of 1993, during my first semester of graduate school at the University of Washington. I knew the moment I saw it at a gift shop on The Ave that I had to have it. I taped it to my closet door in the bedroom of the apartment I shared with five other grad students and would often look at it when I was sick of studying. It always made me smile. I think it wasn't entirely an accident that I found it again tonight.
It's almost impossible to feel sad and sorry for yourself if you read through just 1/100th of the entire list of 930 Things. I remembered this instantly after unrolling the poster. (Why 930 Things? Because that's all that would fit on the poster! The poster, of course, was based on the very popular 1990 book 14,000 Things to Be Happy About by Barbara Kipfer.)
I put the enormous poster in my office, where I have absolutely no wall space left due to books, frames and shelves, but am determined to find a spot for it so that I can once again glance at it whenever I need a little pick-me-up. Seventeen years later, those Happy Things will once again be my constant reminders that life, especially mine, is pretty good.