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I did one of those online word puzzles today. The ones where you glance over a grid of seemingly random letters and the first three words you see are supposedly the three things your next year will be filled with. I saw “Love”, “Money” and “Fun”. Hooray! I like all those things! I did a little seated cha-cha, celebrating my good luck.

Of course, it was completely silly. I don’t mean to ruin the internet for you, but those online tests and quizzes predict absolutely nothing. (And, by the way, there is no Santa Claus or Two Week Miracle Diet. Also, if there actually is a non-surgical way to give a middle-aged lady the smooth and taut jawline of a twenty year old, well, I haven’t found it. Call me if you have.)  This test clearly stacked the deck in the participants favor; all the words were just the sort of things anyone would want to have in abundance. Believe you me, there were plenty of words they didn’t include; words like, “weight-gain”, “boredom”, or “female-patterned-baldness.” Also “cynicism” of which I always have, in plentiful supply.

These should be on our lists. It all should. The point isn’t to be always happy–the point is to be alive. To be immersed and aware and vibrating with whatever bag you happen to be carrying at the moment. What would my teenage years have been without braying inconsolably into a pillow while listening to Chicago cassettes on my boom box? Pretty damn dull, that’s what. Or college years without scrambling for cash? One of my favorite wintertime memories is of me and a friend, me too broke to afford an apartment with actual heat, laughing as we huddled in front of my open oven door, temperature set to 500, and eating an improvised “spanish rice” out of the only remaining foodstuffs in our collective cupboards; a cup of rice, a shriveled pepper and ketsup. Shut up. It was delicious.

Life is made up of all of it. And we’re so, so much richer for it. At the very least, it’s nice that the Universe keeps giving us all these opportunities to rise above ourselves. That’s what I tell myself, anyways, when the shit hits the fan. Nope. I’m lying. Most of the time I go straight into my Camille-Weeping-on-her-Bed-of-Flowers routine, but later, later, I remember that I have the option of responding gracefully to life’s challenges and resolve to do better next time. So I guess that’s something.

With that in mind, allow me to predict for you, with all the guaranteed accuracy of the internet, what your next year will be made up of:

Happiness
love
loneliness
joy
disappointment
loss
political commercials
car repairs
success
dental work
uncertainty
distress
debt
stress
music
friendship
warm socks
blue skies

Its going to be a wonderful year and the only three words you really need to get through it are “humor”, “faith” and “gratitude”. Happy New Year.

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