Reading the work of a London columnist this weekend and her woes about “non-specific unhappiness and anxiety” in this crazy modern world of ours, also her pledge to think of only happy things despite grim newscast after newscast, gave me food for thought. One friend brought me a “Happy Book” recently to record all my reasons to be cheerful. Another bought me sparking gold stars and lovely white horse stickers to cheer myself along and stick into my happy book when I have done a really good job of being happy and content with my lot…. (Am I over-using the word “happy”?)

So far, I have managed half a gold star and one white horse. My happy book is borderline gloomsville. What to do? I resolved — this week at least — that I would steal the advice of the London columnist and compile a feast of happiness, a positive plethora of cheer — or as she puts it, rather more eloquently “a list of good things in the world.” And that I would share that cheer with other gloomy-folk, who are avoiding the current day’s news and sticking their heads as deep into the sand as they can … (“There simply isn’t enough sand for all the heads that want to be hidden in it …” she says. Hear, hear! As they are wont to say in the British Parliament …) Maybe between us and the ocean between us, not to mention land mass, we will start a movement.

Today is Father’s Day. I am so grateful for the wonderful Father I have in my life — a thoughtful, caring man who is always there for all of us. I am also hugely happy that he continues to live life on his own terms and as he wills in his own home. He knows when we need cheering and he acts accordingly. A gold star for him. I am also thrilled to be able to say that I married the best father in the world — the father and husband who puts his family first always and who stops time for all of us, no matter what.

Other wonderful things to report in this happy story is the amount of water our fair State received this winter — no small thing. Though it is hard to remember that particular deluge now in late June when the hills are corn colored again and the ground parched, the river is still visible and flowing through our abundant valley and I am so delighted about that.

I have the best friends in the world — who can say that? This should warrant lots of sparkly stickers in my happy book. My friends in England are always just a text and a giggle away — occasionally even a video or photo — that we entertain each other with. We are consistently planning our next adventure together and it is always so much fun. My friends here are just around the corner. This weekend I spent an amazing day at the Monterey Pop Festival with a very dear friend from about 26 years ago.

We were honoring the Summer of Love from 50 years ago, no less, at this year’s festival and saluting the break-out event for Hendrix, Joplin, Redding and more in a marvelous scene of peace and joy — and that was indeed a pleasure to behold. Though we were shade-jumping much of the time, I went to soak in the atmosphere, enjoy the old photos and the film footage and I just did just that. Plus, I caught up with my buddy — always a good thing. A gold star goes in the book for her and her substantial involvement in the event and the marvelous souvenir photo book she created from the 1967 festival. Even the original event photographer Fred Arellano commented to me that she was a marvelous woman without whom this tribute to the Summer of Love would not have happened. And this made me proud just to call myself her friend.

I also have the best animals in the whole world. Those of you who know me know how many seats in my heart are reserved for just the animals. Some of them wouldn’t win any beauty contests, but their souls and hearts are pure and I just adore them. I’m pretty lucky to be able to brag that they love me right back and every day I cannot wait to see all of them again. Gold stars all round, plus one large white horse sticker.

When we switch off from the world outside a bit, we give ourselves the opportunity to be at peace and take stock of all the good stuff around us. Turn off the phone and read only the happy columnists in the papers — like this one. Don’t watch the news, don’t dwell on the negative and make a point of sweeping the worries under the rug for a while. This has to be good for us; has to nurture our aching hearts and souls and have us digging for the pretty gold and silver stickers and the white horses to put in our happy book. If you don’t have a happy book yet, get one. If you have one and it’s not working for you, write down everything you love about your life, buy yourself some extra special stickers and then get yourself a pet. They are the best therapy you can find and you will never be lonely or sad again.

Also, you will be providing a home for a needy animal. Gold stars all round.

Lucy Jensen is a local Realtor and president of South County Animal Rescue. Contact her at [email protected].

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