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Smile Through The Tears – Or Not

People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be. ― Abraham Lincoln

There are two ways to read this quote.

Lincoln might be telling us to “accentuate the positive.” That managing our emotions and deciding to be happy will make us feel happy. In which case,  this quote is kind of ironic, given that poor Abe struggled with depression. Seems like there's a little self-loathing mixed into the words.
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Family

Your Family Is A Bummer

Family first!

Politically incorrect as it might be to object to this cheery little rallying cry, it has a dark side. I hear “family first!” and think, “everyone else, distant second.”

The problem is that some of us suffer (or enjoy, depending on how you look at it) a dearth of family, or of nearby family. For us, “family first” can feel a little exclusionary. And sometimes it is, actually, exclusionary.

I have friends who travel to...
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Family

By Choosing Not To Have Children, I _____

Would raising children make the best use of what you bring to the world, or would not having kids do that? – Carolyn Hax

As Oprah used to say, frequently, raising kids is the hardest job in the world. And I don’t argue with that. (I wouldn’t dare.)

But choosing not to have kids has challenges of a different kind--not the least of which is censure from a segment of society that assumes you must be selfish, self-centered, or in arrested development.

My husband and I are childless by choice and have some very good reasons for this, which are none of your beeswax. Fortunately, I am past the age where people want to debate our decision with me, but you can’t imagine how tiresome that was. Here’s a hint, people: Asking someone who has chosen not to have kids if she fears regretting the decision someday is uncool. Duh. It's not like we haven't considered that. Would you ask a woman who does have kids if she fears regretting that decision?

Not having children is challenging in that your life is not mapped out for you according to the needs of your children. You have to take full responsibility for your own life trajectory, which can be oddly daunting. And you have nothing to distract you from complicated adult relationships. I know a lot of marriages crack under the pressure of parenting, but a lot of other relationships probably last because of the needs and distractions of children.

But I really like the quote from Carolyn Hax,
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