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Why I Didn’t Post Last Week, or, Lost-Wallet Syndrome.

Why I Didn’t Post Last Week, or, Lost-Wallet Syndrome.

I'm on the book tour for the paperback of Happier at Home right now, but that' s only indirectly why I didn't post last week.

On Monday, I left my beloved laptop behind as I went through security in JFK Airport. I didn't realize the laptop was missing until I got to Austin.

Panic! Despair! But the next morning, I heard that the laptop had been turned in to JetBlue, and was on its way back to my apartment. Ah, the relief.

A friend of mine described the "lost wallet syndrome." He said, "If you lose your wallet, you think, 'How happy I would be, how perfect life would be, if only I could get my wallet back.' But then you find your wallet, and everything goes back to normal."

But my bliss at getting my laptop back is staying with me, I must say. I felt so lost without laptop is my work and my play; my encyclopedia and my phone; my teddy bear and my to-do list.

When I thought it was lost forever, the analogy that kept popping into my mind came from Harry Potter. I felt as though I'd accidentally created a horcrux, and a piece of my soul had lodged into a physical object and was lost in the world.

Of course I realized that as a challenge to happiness, losing a laptop is actually trivial. There are countless things that matter more. I kept reminding myself to keep this perspective -- and it did help to calm me down. I reminded myself to under-react to a problem, to reach out to other people, to get enough sleep, and all the other measures I've learned. Which helped.

To the person who turned in the white laptop in the JFK JetBlue terminal last week, THANK YOU! Thank you thank you thank you. You made me so happy.

Today I'm off from New York City for the last leg of my book tour. If you live near Portland or San Francisco, I hope to see you at an event this week. I'm really excited to be going to Powell's Books; Books, Inc.; Scribd; and Kepler's. Please come, tell your friends!

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