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Dear Linda,

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Dear Linda,
I’m still living in Texas while the federal government decides whether we can rebuild my home and business in New Orleans. I’m so tired of not knowing and not being able to plan. Any advice to help me keep my sanity in tact while I wait?
Debbie R., Gentilly

Dear Debbie,
Absolutely! Not only do I have some great advice on keeping your sanity, I’ll tell you how you can use the devastation wrought by Katrina to build your life better than it was before. The weeks of not knowing whether your house survived or not, aching for the loss of cherished possessions and setting up a household away from home for an unknown number of months is enough to test the sanest among us. But we survived and the sun came up the next day. Katrina forced us all to reassess our priorities, and now we are free to re-create ourselves. Katrina can be your excuse for doing–or not doing–the things you’ve always dreamed of. Make a call to that friend or relative you’ve been angry at for so long you can’t remember why. Use Katrina as an excuse to take the sculpture class you’ve always wanted to take or use it to stop smoking. Use Katrina to find something to celebrate every day. The last chapter in Urban’s Choices That Change Lives contrasts happiness and joy, which can especially apply to us now. Happiness is defined as “good fortune,” while joy is defined as an “emotion evoked by well-being.” This distinction explains why we can feel unhappy about the post-Katrina situation but still experience joy–joy as setting a positive outlook on life and a deep satisfaction and thankfulness, both for the things we still have and for those we’ll re-build. The last two pages of the book offer what Urban calls a “recipe for joy.” Tape it up on your bathroom mirror and add a new ingredient each day. Together we can cook up a whole new city, one joyful day at a time.

Take Care, Linda

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