I’m now 72 hours into my 33rd year. I often find myself looking at where I am now in terms of where I’ve been and what I’ve been through in the past year. As such, birthdays and new years seem natural times to just take a minute to look back.

Looking back, I have to say I hated my last year more than any other I’ve lived through. If my life were a movie, I’d be hitting fast forward in search of hope of a happy ending. With that said, it ended better than it began. I spent my 31st birthday in hospital, and while the hospital might be good for solving the ailments of one’s body, it sucks for one’s spirits. For months after that I was on a drug that did little for me. At least at the end of the year, I switched to a new drug that seems better. Oddly, I find myself feeling physically better and yet more emotionally distant. Ah well, fix one leak at a time.

All in all, I can’t help but think the lesson of this year for me has been when I don’t have hope, fake it. There’s no point in dragging everyone else down, and sometimes positive expressions inspire other genuinely positive emotions in others. Even better, sometimes these new positive emotions inspire positive feelings in me. It seems like playing poker against fate. If your hand sucks but you have to play it anyway, bluff. Every now and then, fate folds.

I keep thinking the song “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” needs a modified ending for adults. “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands… If you’re unhappy and you know it fake it well.”

The best example I have for the just fake it mentality comes from trying to get my kids to smile for the camera. I felt down that day. I cringed at the thought of getting them to smile as they started fussing and wandering instead of helping out the photographer…Literally, it was “if you’re happy and you know it to the rescue.” I started singing that song and A started her giggles…before long my faked joy was real.

I wonder who learns more in the parenting relationship: child or parent.