Hope is so important. I want to cultivate it in my own life. What is life without hope? Isn’t having a cup half-full a good thing? Sometimes, when life gets me down, it’s hard to be positive. So I’m trying to apply some good feelings to the (boring, mundane) events of my week.

As with many other parts of the country, we’ve had snow, slush and gloom recently. So I’m trying to imagine that it’s warm and sunny and flowery outside. I’ve been sick with asthmatic bronchitis, so I’ve been trying to imagine that I’m not sick and coughing all the time. I’ve been paying attention to the news, so I’ve been trying to imagine a world where CBS fired Don Imus because he actually is sexist and racist, not because it is a slow news week and the public outcry made them do it. I’ve been shopping for houses, so I’m trying to make myself believe that living further away from the city will be a good thing.

Is it working? Somewhat. The sun is actually melting the snow today, so it at least looks pleasant outside even if it’s still cold–and it is spring, so warmth is coming, right? I finally went to the doctor yesterday, so at least I’m doped up on steroids that are supposed to help. I won’t be sick forever. As for the Don Imus thing–at least he no longer has a job and people recognize that his speech, while protected, wasn’t appropriate for the workplace or a public airing. Although he’ll probably have another job in no time, it’s a step in the right direction. And I’ve almost convinced myself that being even further away from Chicago is an advantage because we’ll have a bigger house and new places to explore. I’m imagining John Lennon’s world…no war, no religion, blah blah blah.

I can be cynical sometimes, but I do believe having a positive outlook is good for me and my son. Otherwise I might get depressed and transfer my pessimism to my child–and that would just be wrong. He ought to believe that we can change the world, even if his mother isn’t as idealistic as she used to be. You know, like in my teens and twenties, when protesting meant something and it felt like one person really could make a difference even if she wasn’t Al Gore. That was a good feeling.

One of my favorite TV characters, Doctor Who, once said, “Optimism is the irrational belief, bordering on the insane, that everything will work out well.” Maybe so, but perhaps we’re better off mad. How else can we change the world?

Helen, 34, in Glenview, Illinois, USA