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7. The Dream of Being the Woman in the Song

All of us have the fifth-grade dream of being the girl in the song. We want to be Angie or Sweet Melissa or Suzanne or whoever she is that the totally smoking-hot pop icon sings to—offering to throw himself off a bridge or give up his millions if only she would love him. Meeting such an icon, getting him to fall for you and write you a desperate, soul-rending song is just too much work. But it's no reason to give up on the dream. If you take the song "I Will Always Love You" by the always beloved Whitney Houston and play it over and over, you'll hear how she draws out the word "you"...giving it many, many more beats than a one-syllable word needs—and allowing you to insert your own name. As in: I will always love you-u-u-u-Jenn-if-er-r-r.

8. The Dream of Keeping It in Perspective

Things are not just tough; they're boring, frustrating and exhausting. You're working at a job you don't like, or even two jobs you don't like. Your dishwasher is broken, and you don't have the time or energy to replace it. It seems like other people have it all figured out—people with spacious organized garages and exercised derrieres and violin-playing children who attend insufferable schools for the gifted, talented and perfectly mannered. Right at this moment, you know you have lost perspective. You have mistaken real happiness for a grown-up Barbie penthouse. But you can get your head (and heart) back in order very quickly by reading this badass, honest essay.

9.The Dream of Total Silence

Step 1: Let your batteries die—all of them, including the one that runs the teeny-tiny disposable computer inside the very old Mother's Day card at the bottom of your purse that plays "I Like to Move It" whenever you walk too fast down the sidewalk.

Step 2: Go to a church on a Monday, your house during lunch, the basement of your office building during the weekend, or wherever it is that you don't have to listen to a jackhammer or thumping bass or even the joyful sound of children laughing (and there is somewhere, for all of us).

Step 3: Lie down on the floor. Stare up at the weird stain on the ceiling. Be free.

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