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A Brand New Year

A Brand New Year Cover Image

John R York

January 16, 2023

There's Always Hope

Happy New Year to everyone. For some people, a new year means a new start, new opportunities, new experiences. For others - well, perhaps something less optimistic. I admit that I tend to be more positive and cheerful than many folks. I love to try new things (as long as they don't involve beets), go to new places, meet new people. And, of course, I want to write new stories. I'm working on three right now - all in various stages of production.

Sometimes, like when I watch the news, I wonder if there's any hope for our world, but then I see daily examples of good people doing good things. That gives me hope. I think hope is the stuff that allows us to keep moving forward. I hope that I'll be a famous, best-seller author one day, for example. I hope more people, like my family, my friends, my neighbors, and people everywhere will have a better year in their lives than they did last year.

You may already know, I belong to Rotary, and I went to a District Training Seminar yesterday to learn more about what the Rotary does worldwide. Their mantra for the coming year is "Create Hope in the World", and I look forward to participating in my small way toward helping to achieve that goal.

In addition to doing Rotary stuff, Paula and I plan to do some traveling this coming year. We'll be visiting family who are scattered all over the United States, and we hope to take some trips to our favorite places, like Key West.

But There Are Assholes

Reality check. We need hope, but when it comes down to everyday life, I think you'll agree that it's hard to avoid disagreeable encounters. The reason is that the world is full of assholes.

Back in 1998, I wrote an essay on the subject. At the time, the effort was a means to vent my frustration with what seemed like a rising tendency for people to behave rudely. I'm sure there have always been rude people, but at some point in our recent history in America, more people began to feel it was okay to act like a jerk.

Since I wrote this essay, I've discovered many more contributions to the topic. One that I read recently was titled  "The Rise of Asshole-ism in America" ( if you're interested).

The essay I wrote has surreptitiously traveled around the the planet via email chains, passed on by amused readers who wanted to share my observation and recommendations to others. I recently dusted it off and sent it to some new friends here in New Port Richey, and heard that it was read by many more than the original addressees.

So, I've decided to include the short paper as a permanent component of my website. If you are interested in reading my view on asshole-ism, and what you can do about it, simply go to the tab on this, my, website labeled "Assholes". Drop me a note in "Contacts" if you want to comment.

Simple Pleasures

Perhaps it's my advanced age (I'm 74) or maybe it's because I'm retired and therefore less harried, or maybe it's the Florida tropical weather, but I find myself enjoying simple pleasures more and more. After all, simple pleasures are possible everyday, multiple times a day. The big pleasures are relatively rare. I thought I would give you a list of things that provide me with pleasure everyday.

A smile from wife, Paula

My dog Rayne coming up to me for a little attention (he's older than me in dog years)

A cup of coffee while playing my piano in the morning

Listening to audio books at lunch

A glass of wine in the evening

Going out to dinner with our friends

Watching somebody else cut my lawn

Emails from old friends