I don’t remember being very happy as a child. There were fleeting moments of feeling happy—sunny southern days and melting popsicles, a good book on a rainy afternoon, making homemade cookies, spending the night at my Grandma’s house. But when I look at my youth as a whole, the little blips of happy memories struggle to emerge, like I am trying to make bubbles from a lukewarm bath that does not have enough solution to create the luxurious, fluffy, joyful, relaxing bubble bath I was expecting. I can certainly find happy moments, but overall, my childhood is not one I would ever relive. It might have been circumstances, or my own melancholic and guilt-ridden temperament, I really don’t know. The fringes of gray that surround my childhood carried over into adulthood. In my stormy early thirties, something happened. At the time, I had four small children at home, was living far from family, and my husband was working very long hours. I remember snatching a few moments to myself in the evenings to run errands like grocery shopping. On one such errand, on a balmy summer evening, I was listening to music and had the windows down in my cheerio-sprinkled, clanky old minivan. As I dropped overdue library books off, a thought enveloped my mind: “Drop the books off and keep on driving. Just drive away and don’t look back.” The immediate feeling of joy and excitement that I felt at the thought of just leaving this life behind and starting over was jarring. In the following days, throughout the stillness of napping moments and the endless monotony laundry-foldings and dish-doings, I self-flagellate by asking over and over again, what kind of a mother and wife would even consider—no matter how briefly—leaving everything behind? What is wrong with me? It was then that I decided something had to change. I had to change. I had wasted ¾ of my life feeling like I was missing something, and less-than, and that if only circumstances could change, I would change. What a shame! I began consciously changing my thought patterns. Instead of waking up and immediately dreading a new day, I made the choice to be thankful. I would mentally thank the sun for shining, my body for being alive, my children for existing, my husband for loving me, my house for being cozy, and so on. There is a saying that “Gratitude creates abundance” and I wholly believe this. The universe has been so kind to me. I am so very grateful every day for all the many blessings and joys in my life. I have learned that if things do not go the way I want or imagine they should—it’s really, truly going to be ok. When I saw the picture Eva took of me mid-laugh, I was moved to tears. At 40, I can finally laugh with abundance. One of my students recently asked me, “Why are you so happy all of the time?” and it made me pause for a moment. I was so grateful he asked me that. I just smiled and told him that there are so many things in life to find happiness in. Happiness is in abundance, if only we keep looking.