Happy (so to speak) New Year

One day I came home from kindergarten and Happy was gone. I can’t remember what my parents said, but it was something about how it wasn’t working out. Happy, the Beagle pup, wasn’t taking to the housebreaking idea, and barked a lot, from what I remember. We hadn’t had Happy for that long, so honestly, it wasn’t a huge attachment rupture (I hang out with therapists way too much!), but it sucked, and I felt sad, I think, mostly because I had gotten to name the dog. And I had named him Happy. The saddest name in the world.

Oh, samsara!

As a year-end wrap-up, I am going to make a list of top ten things that, this past year, in some significant way, made me really happy, but then, watching the pleasure fade, helped me realize the true nature of happiness, and, thus everything else: fleeting, impermanent, empty, ghastly, glorious.

  1. My new red clog sandals
  2. Getting a Volvo
  3. Letting go of the Joko book
  4. Picking the Joko book back up
  5. Smoking

    Need I say more?

  6. Starting Open City by Teju Cole
  7. Writing a poem called This, too
    (see below)
  8. Finally articulating why Etsy makes me crazy
  9. Being done with Facebook for good
  10. Planning our trip to Rome. Is this a good place to stay? Will it make us…happy?


Here’s the poem:


This, too

And the voice,

first thing upon waking—

You drink too much—

before I have had a chance to settle

into all my little ways. It is God,

like plain water,

speaking, and I love to listen

to the sound of truth

fade as I rise into the air of my room

and smooth the sheets

and dress my body for the day ahead,

fixing hunger with all kinds of pots and pans,

walking into other people’s rooms

and opening curtains

onto the lawn. This, too,

God says, and the way

the grass turns a nice brown

as it releases itself into another year

of dying. This, too, God says,

I can only imagine,

long after I’ve stopped listening.