What do you *really* need to be happy in a recession?

Like everybody and his brother, I’ve been spending all of my spare time thinking about the economic state of our country?.  Never mind that I don’t understand the bailout and haven’t looked at my 401K balance in four months–whenever I have an idle moment, my brain seems to wander to the recession, like a runaway train.

My train of thought is not always heading into a brick wall or over a cliff, however.  For example, this morning I realized that thinking about the recession leads to a mild personal panic about the way I conduct my life which in turn leads to the realization that my daily needs can actually be broken down into a list of 10 essentials.  This realization makes me happy, because anybody knows that a list of 10 things is almost always safe and manageable, unlike the recession itself, which seems both unsafe and unmanageable.

The only things I really need for happiness on any given weekday:

1. One cup of very strong coffee
2. Kids who leave for school with no yelling
3. A train ride to work in which I get a seat and don’t have to stand
4. A fairly organized desk
5. No surprise emails marked with exclamation points that demand a giant decision from me by the end of the day
6. An hour free of meetings
7. A child (or three) to hug
8. A decent glass of wine with dinner (not expensive, just decent)
9. A good book to read in bed
10. The ability to fall asleep within 3 minutes of closing my eyes

It it worth noting that most of these 10 things are freeish (with the exception of the children, who—according to the latest figures—will cost me more than the bailout by the time it’s all said and done).  And isn’t that a good realization in these belt-tightening days?

Now tell me:  what is on your recessionary daily happiness list?

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