I’m happy. A part of me hesitates to say that out loud, because if I do, something bad will happen just to make me a liar. That’s the same part that wants to shout epithets to bad drivers, one of several dumb parts of me I’ve apparently been preserving over the years.

I’m happy, though, especially about my sons, who are turning out splendidly in spite of having me to deal with day after day.

I’m happy about my house. Two years ago it was pretty much the only house in Chico we could afford, and it wasn’t really big enough even to hold all our stuff and us at the same time. A studio in the back yard and a lot of giving and throwing away have made things a lot more pleasant than they used to be, and the new shed is even better than we thought it would be.

I’m happy about my work. Some people like my stuff and say so, and the rest keep mum, my favorite arrangement. I’ve got a couple of projects knocking around in my head and on my hard drive that keep my dreams of sudden wealth alive.

And I’m happy about the cats in my back yard. I still don’t feed them, although I’m starting to waver. I was advised not to feed them, because if I did, they’d never go away. Now that the kittens are big, they and their mama are usually away, showing up only every few days and soon going away again. Our deck is clearly headquarters for the family, even without a food supply, so I might as well drop my resistance and feed them. They’re not coming in the house, though.

I’m happy about my education, too. It’s taking forever, but that’s apparently the way it is with education, one day at a time, a lesson here, an epiphany there, whenever I happen to be paying attention. I’m still learning, and I still enjoy it even though it’s mostly homework and often painful.

I’m happy about my health. I’m older than ever, and I still get around fairly well. I’ve lately gotten rid of some extra weight, apparently trading it for more wrinkles, a better deal than it sounds like at first.

I’m happy about my job, too. I get to attend to some matters of import, feed my inner nerd, and pick grammatical nits till my heart’s content. I’ve done much worse things for money.

And I’m happy that I’m loved and that I can love in return, a pretty good trick. Not everybody can do that.