The Optimist: Her doctor said she had the flu. It took years to find the real, and strange, illness.

‘Really happening’: Saudi women mark first day of driving with road trips and calls for wider changes; It’s 2018, and Hank Green still believes the Internet can make the world…
The Washington Post
The Optimist
Stories that inspire
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Her doctor said she had the flu. It took years to find the real, and strange, illness.
Many doctors know nothing about the disorder that made this woman so sick.
By Sandra G. Boodman • Read more »
‘Really happening’: Saudi women mark first day of driving with road trips and calls for wider changes
Minutes after midnight, Saudi women took to the road as the kingdom’s male-only driving rules officially ended.
By Brian Murphy • Read more »
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It’s 2018, and Hank Green still believes the Internet can make the world better
“People will be able to tell if you’re having a good time doing this.”
By Abby Ohlheiser • Read more »
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What to do about lonely older men? Put them to work.
After retirement, isolation and boredom can be a problem. Men’s Sheds teaches skills and provides community.
By Dawn Fallik • Read more »
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Black Brazilians are ditching hair straighteners and white standards of beauty
The resurgence of natural hair mirrors a rise in black empowerment.
By Marina Lopes • Read more »
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A love of music led one woman to a lifetime of teaching, and a lifeline for some boys at risk
After a record number of homicides one year, a teacher created a choir to keep young boys off the street. Twenty-five years later, she has reached more than 700 boys.
By Courtland Milloy • Read more »
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Iran’s goalkeeper went from being homeless to blocking Ronaldo’s penalty kick
Alireza Beiranvand, the 25-year-old keeper who blocked a penalty kick from Cristiano Ronaldo, slept outside clubs and worked as a street cleaner to realize his soccer dreams.
By Rebecca Tan • Read more »
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This adopted woman scoured the country for the sister she never met — only to discover she literally lived next door
For months, the women lived next door to each other. Their homes even shared a driveway. But they never said much more than “hello.”
By Allison Klein • Read more »
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Meet Cleo Wade. She wants you to know that she loves you.
The life-affirming poet captivates millennial women on Instagram.
By Sonia Rao • Read more »
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Katie Ledecky has had a subscription to National Geographic for years. Now she’s on the cover.
The five-time Olympic gold medalist continues to make history.
By Scott Allen • Read more »
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Meet the man who travels the country mowing lawns — free
Rodney Smith has mowed pocket-size yards and vast expanses, with a goal of doing a lawn in all 50 states. He hopes to inspire a new generation to follow his example.
By Tara Bahrampour • Read more »
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How a saucy, 78-year-old gambler brought me humanity
After Ilse died, her will set in motion an unusual and wonderful set of events.
By Lisa Kanarek • Read more »
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My grandmother’s Sunday dinners were magical. Could I re-create them for my own family?
I wish I had paid more attention to how she made her sauce and meatballs, while she was still around.
By Lauren DePino • Read more »
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P.S.: Thank you for all your wonderful feedback. We read every single one of your emails and enjoyed them immensely. We will keep working to make The Optimist the bright spot of your Sunday.
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