Gretchen Rubin

A happiness challenge: the boomerang errand — when you think you’ve rid yourself of some task, but then it flies right back to you.

I am awaiting an answer from Typepad tech support. I am carefully drafting this post to omit any symbols other than periods and commas.

As I feared, when I fixed the formatting problems some people saw in the posts, I wreaked havoc on other people's versions. So now I must find a solution anew.

Thus, I am facing a good example of a boomerang errand, which I find to be a major, recurring challenge to maintaining a cheerful mood, day to day.

A boomerang errand is one where, just when you have successfully got rid of some task, it drops right back into your lap.

You buy light-bulbs, but you buy the wrong size. Back to the hardware store. You call the air-conditioner repair people, but then you have to call the electrician. Another appointment to keep.

I thought I had hit on a solution to my problem, but it turns out that to solve one problem is to create a new problem.

The secret to dealing with the boomerang errand is to stay calm. Studies show that the notion of catharsis, or relieving bad feelings by expressing them, is not accurate. Acting angry just makes you feel angrier, acting frustrated just makes you feel more frustrated.

So I consider my formatting problem with a serene and mild mien. Eventually, this will get worked out.

Maybe I will write my posts with nary a curly quote or dash. Hmmm. Do apostrophes also format in a bizarre way, or do they keep their shape? What about ellipses? Le't m'e k'now...

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I recently came across two interesting happiness-related sites that are definitely worth a look: In the Know and The Happiness Notebook. This weekend I plan to spend some time cruising around on both.

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