One of my favorite truisms is “Perception is reality.” That is, how we perceive something becomes Truth in our minds, even though the person standing next to us perceives the same thing differently and therefore is standing in a different reality from us. In the same way–according to this happiness book I’m paging through– perception is happiness or misery. Or as the book put it, “It’s not what happened, it’s how you think about what happened.” I can look back at all the mistakes I made, all the people who treated me badly when I was younger and think, “What a gormless victim I was, shame on me,” or I can look back and think, “Damn, that girl was a survivor who never quit fighting. Go, Young Jenny.” The first one makes me resentful and ashamed and miserable. The second one makes me want to go back and high five that kid and tell her how proud I am of her. I like the second one; it makes me happy. I can look out at the meadow that is now my lawn and be ashamed because I haven’t mowed it in months, or I can look out at it and see the butterflies and the bees and the bright yellow wildflowers that have taken over my hedge and think how much more beautiful it is than lawn. I’m going with the butterflies. I can look at Nita and think about how weird it is and my editor is going to freak and my career is probably over, or I can look at it and think it’s more than half done and it has some of the best writing I’ve ever done and it’s a good book, damn it. Yeah, I’m going with “It’s a good book, damn it.” Perception is happiness.