There’s a quote that says, “Life is a journey with problems to solve and lessons to learn but most of all. Experiences to enjoy.” The journey of life is really about finding one’s self, figuring out who we really are. Sometimes the road to finding yourself is bumpy, and it can even be dangerous. Often, we even get lost and take a wrong turn. However, if we are true to ourselves, that’s the only map we need on our journey. I saw this quote on Facebook. Who knows what it’s from, but it I felt like it was talking directly to me.
It’s taken a very long time, and I wish I’d figured a lot of things out differently a long time ago, but I’m constantly working on improving myself and being true to who I am inside. I am certainly not perfect (sometimes I don’t even like myself), nor have I fully become the person I should be, but all I can say is that I’m trying.
When I was growing up, we always had our family’s Christmas on December 23rd. We had other family obligations on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so my mother always put out the fine china and silverware and made a really nice dinner that we ate by candlelight on the twenty-third. It was just my parents, my sister, and myself. We would exchange gifts with each other, and my sister and I knew that Santa Claus would bring the bulk of our gifts after we went to sleep on Christmas Eve. One of our traditions was that before dinner my sister or I read aloud Luke 2:1-20 (ironically, I always hear these verses in Linus’s voice from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”). We then ate our meal and after we finished , we opened presents. After we finished with presents, my dad usually went and watched TV, and my mother took a book from our bookshelves that contained Christmas traditions. She read us “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and then she always read us the letters that have become known as “Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus.”
In 1897, eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial on September 21, 1897. The response was written by veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church and has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial. It has appeared in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps. As I read the letter today, it makes me think that what Church said about people in 1897 is still true today.
DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus? VIRGINIA O’HANLON.115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
As an adult, this letter hits very differently than it did when I was a child. I think the childlike belief I once had of Santa Claus’s existence imprinted on me a desire for open mindedness and curiosity. I may not believe in Santa Claus anymore, but I still believe in the essence of this letter. Maybe I still have a childlike belief in faith, fancy, poetry, love, and romance. I still hope that one day I will find love and romance, but even if I don’t, I still know it exists. Love, like Santa Claus, will continue to make glad our hearts, not only during the Christmas season, but all year long.
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I hope all of you remember to have faith in humanity’s goodness. Yes, there are those with no good intentions, but I believe that most of us are good at heart. So, have a very Merry Christmas!
“We are beckoned to see the world through a one-way mirror, as if we are threatened and innocent and the rest of humanity is threatening, or wretched, or expendable. Our memory is struggling to rescue the truth that human rights were not handed down as privileges from a parliament, or a boardroom, or an institution, but that peace is only possible with justice and with information that gives us the power to act justly.”
——John Pilger Australian journalist, writer, scholar, and filmmaker
Are you a glass half-empty or half-full sort of person? Studies have demonstrated that both can impact your physical and mental health and that being a positive thinker is the better of the two. Sometimes, having a positive outlook is one of the hardest things to do. One just needs to look at the news to feel depressed and hopeless. Whether it’s from a natural disaster like a hurricane or a wildfire or it’s the hate filled politics of the current Trumpism of the Republican Party. Every time politics is mentioned especially something done by either the Democrats or those Republicans who opposed the former president, the Republicans trying to find the favor of the former twice impeached and disgraced president seem to be diametrically opposed to it. They don’t seem to care how much it would benefit their constituents, how sensible or scientifically proven it is, or even if it was a policy they previously supported. The current climate is nastier than I can ever remember it. The world continues to see deaths from COVID due to the delta variant, and it seems to go ignored by those who refuse to support science or believe in helping their fellow man simply to follow the lunatic ravings of one madman.
It is all so disheartening and depressing. What can we do about it? If we dwell on it and allow it to consume us, we are only seeing the world through a one-way mirror and the hopelessness consumes us. We must make a change in our outlook before we can make a change in the world. We must turn to positive thinking and heal ourselves first. Jesus reminded those in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:23) of a Greek proverb, “Physician, heal yourself!” The moral of the proverb in general, containing within itself also a criticism of hypocrisy, is to attend to one’s own defects before those in others. If our defect is negative thinking, then we must heal that first. Positive thinking isn’t magic, and it won’t make all of our problems disappear. What it will do is make problems seem more manageable and help us approach hardships in a more positive and productive way.
The first thing we can do is to focus on the good things in our lives. Challenging situations and obstacles are a part of life. When we’re faced with one, focus on the good things no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they seem. If we look for it, we you can always find the proverbial silver lining in every cloud—even if it’s not immediately obvious. To follow this up, we should practice gratitude of what we have. Practicing gratitude has been shown to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, and foster resilience even in very difficult times. Think of people, moments, or things that bring you comfort or happiness and try to express your gratitude at least once a day.
Comedians who often tell stories instead of just telling jokes often say that humor is all around them and they find their stories in everyday situations because they open themselves up to the humor of life. Instead of dwelling on what can go wrong, they focus on how to find the humor in the situation. Studies have found that laughter lowers stress, anxiety, and depression. It also improves coping skills, mood, and self-esteem. Be open to humor in all situations, especially the difficult ones, and give yourself permission to laugh. It instantly lightens the mood and makes things seem a little less difficult. Even if you’re not feeling it; pretending or forcing yourself to laugh can improve your mood and lower stress.
One of the most important things, and something I have been doing more of lately, is to spend time with positive people. Negative people will only pull you down into their negativity. Positivity and negativity have been shown to be contagious. Consider the people with whom you’re spending time. Have you noticed how someone in a bad mood can bring down almost everyone in a room? A positive person has the opposite effect on others. Being around positive people has been shown to improve self-esteem and increase our chances of reaching goals. We should surround ourselves with people who will lift us up and help us see the bright side. Two songs come to mind, the jazz classic, “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” and the country/bluegrass classic, “Keep on the Sunny Side.” The latter song tells us, “It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way, if we keep on the sunny side of life.”
We also need to not be so hard on ourselves. We tend to be the hardest on ourselves and be our own worst critic. Over time, this can cause us to form a negative opinion of ourselves that can be hard to shake. To stop this, we need to be mindful of the voice in our head and respond with positive messages. Research shows that even a small shift in the way we talk to ourselves can influence our ability to regulate our feelings, thoughts, and behavior under stress. We need to identify the areas of negativity in our lives. We should take a good look at the different areas of our life and identify the ones in which we tend to be the most negative. If you are not sure what those are? Ask a trusted friend or colleague. Chances are, they’ll be able to offer some insight. A co-worker might notice that you tend to be negative at work. A close friend may notice that you get especially negative while driving. Tackle one area at a time.
We can also drive away the negativity in our lives by starting every day on a positive note. There are several ways we can do this. We can create a ritual in which you start off each day with something uplifting and positive. We can tell ourselves that it’s going to be a great day or any other positive affirmation. We can listen to a happy and positive song or playlist, or we can share some positivity by giving a compliment or doing something nice for someone. We can’t undo years of pessimism and negative thoughts overnight, but with some practice, we can learn how to approach things with a more positive outlook.
I know it can seem vapid and self-serving to be slutty on the internet, but truthfully it’s a lot bigger than that.
I can’t speak for everyone else, but for me, this isn’t the easiest thing in the world I’ve ever done. In fact, two years ago I would have never even posted a shirtless picture of myself online because I didn’t believe I had a body worth sharing.
It’s taken a lot of work to get to where I am now and I am so proud of myself. I never thought I would be strong enough to be this open. While getting called “hot” will always feel good, that has never been the reason behind any this.
But it is also really hard sometimes, because whether you intend to or not, you are giving other people a lot of power over you. It can sometimes hurt my confidence doing this, but I recognize that as an inherent part of it. It’s important to keep my chin up.
What bothers me the most is that sometimes I feel like my true self gets lost in this. What I put out here is only one side of myself, and truthfully not always a very genuine one either. It’s fun to put on an act and be slutty, but sometimes it can be work.
Still, I recognize that this is all part of it and remain adamant that what we’re doing is important. Whether you realize it or not, because it is easy to become desensitized to it, what we’re doing here is extreme. But that’s a good thing.
By sharing ourselves, we are not only celebrating different types of bodies but also normalizing them. By sharing our kinks and fetishes and the way we have sex, we are dismantling the systems that say that they are wrong or taboo.
We are creating an environment that is conducive to safer, freer sex. We are creating a world where you don’t have to look like a Sean Cody model to feel good and sexy.
It feels awesome to be active in a community that welcomes and accepts everyone. It’s all of you who have inspired and guided me to this point, and I hope I am doing the same for other people.
So we shouldn’t undervalue what we’re doing here. It’s fun and sexy but it’s also creating the foundation for a new world where we all feel beautiful and sexy and worthy.
Warning: None of the links in this post are SFW.
Often, when I come across an attractive guy on Twitter, especially those with an Only Fans (OF) account, they often do seem seem vapid and self-serving. There are any number of reasons why a guy shows off on the internet and has an OF. Sometimes it’s simply because they need the money, and they have a body (or a particular physical attribute, i.e. 🍆 or 🍑) which can be used to make that money. Others use it because they like to show off their bodies, and they get aroused by performing for others. Then there are some who are simply vapid and self-serving, but there are also those who use Twitter or OF because it boosts their self-esteem and confidence.
The above series of tweets is from a handsome young guy from Alabama named Samuel, a.k.a. @galactaqueer. I think the most important thing he says here is:
By sharing ourselves, we are not only celebrating different types of bodies but also normalizing them. By sharing our kinks and fetishes and the way we have sex, we are dismantling the systems that say that they are wrong or taboo. We are creating an environment that is conducive to safer, freer sex. We are creating a world where you don’t have to look like a Sean Cody model to feel good and sexy. It feels awesome to be active in a community that welcomes and accepts everyone. It’s all of you who have inspired and guided me to this point, and I hope I am doing the same for other people. So we shouldn’t undervalue what we’re doing here. It’s fun and sexy but it’s also creating the foundation for a new world where we all feel beautiful and sexy and worthy.
Samuel is right. We need to normalize all kinds of sex as long as it is not harming someone else. We often are made to feel bad about ourselves for our innermost fantasies, but just because others might see us as kinky, doesn’t mean that our desires are wrong. We also need to be more body positive. Few people look like porn models, and very few have the physical attributes that porn models have. We need to learn how to feel sexy on our own. It’s been many years since I felt beautiful or sexy, and I wasn’t even fully happy with myself back then. Even when I had a better physique and more hair, I still had vitiligo. During puberty, I began to lose the pigment in the skin my hands and in more intimate areas. People notice it and ask about it all the time, much to my embarrassment. I’ve been asked if I burned my fingers or if parts of me were dirty because of the darker patches that can also happen with vitiligo. Sometimes people are very sensitive about the issue when they ask; others are very blunt to the point of rudeness.
Recently, I came across another guy on Twitter who also has an OF, Jay Mason, a.k.a. @homoblanket. Like me, Jay has vitiligo, yet he’s a bit more fair-skinned and hairier than I am, so it’s not always as noticeable. Jay’s vitiligo also isn’t on his hands or face where it would be be noticeable when he’s not naked. Mine began appearing on my hands early on and most recently, it has spread to my face, though it is not as noticeable on my face as it is on my hands. The point of this is that Jay doesn’t hide his vitiligo and shows how his confidence makes it basically not an issue. I’m sure there are those who make negative or ignorant comments, but if they bother Jay, he doesn’t let it show. He uses his OF to fund his dream of becoming a songwriter in Nashville.
Another guy that I enjoy following on Twitter is Lucas, a.k.a. @LucasCashXXX. Lucas is a 21 year old personal trainer from Alabama who just enjoys showing off. Personal trainers have been hit hard by the pandemic. Often, they are self-employed and when gyms closed, they were no longer able to see their clients. Many did virtual training for those who had access to fitness equipment at home, but they often still took a hit to their finances. Single, self-employed individuals did not get the same benefits of many others who were affected by the pandemic. I find Lucas to be probably the sexiest of them all, and he certainly has those physical attributes that come in very handy with an OF account.
Not only do all of these guys have a Twitter and OF, they also have one other thing in common, they are all from Alabama. Recently, Alabama ranked as the worst state to be LGBTQ+, and I agree with that assessment. There are a few places in Alabama, such as Birmingham or Mobile, that make it somewhat easier to be LGBTQ+, but the rest of the state can make it very difficult. I’m glad that all of these guys have found an outlet for their sexuality and that they feel confident enough to show their beauty to the world. From what I have seen from Samuel, Jay, and Lucas, they are all beautiful people inside and out. If you are so inclined, I hope you’ll go follow them, and if you subscribe to any OF, maybe you’ll check them out there as well. From the previews on their Twitter feeds, I’d say it would be well worth it. See one of those previews below:
As we go into the holiday weekend, I hope we will all remember these words from the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Many Americans who claim to believe in “their Creator” want to deny LGBTQ+ Americans, and other marginalized groups, our unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and deny us the equality that Jefferson wrote was “self-evident.” Those same people claim there is some secret gay agenda, when in truth we just want life, liberty, and the ability to pursue our happiness. We want the right to live our lives without fear and without the tormenting hatred of others. We want the liberty to be liberated from our oppressors who claim we don’t have the same rights as everyone else. We want the ability to pursue our happiness and to love each other. We simply want what all Americans want. There is no “gay agenda,” but there is a human agenda.
Other tripartite mottos like “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” include “liberté, égalité, fraternité” (liberty, equality, fraternity) in France; “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit” (unity, justice and liberty) in Germany and “peace, order, and good government” in Canada. It is also similar to a line in the Canadian Charter of Rights: “life, liberty, security of the person.”
The phrase can also be found in Chapter III, Article 13 of the 1947 Constitution of Japan, and in President Ho Chi Minh’s 1945 declaration of independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. An alternative phrase “life, liberty, and property,” is found in the Declaration of Colonial Rights, a resolution of the First Continental Congress. The Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution declare that governments cannot deprive any person of “life, liberty, or property” without due process of law. Also, Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.”
The civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer told the National Women’s Political Caucus in Washington in 1971 that black and white women had to work together toward freedom for all. “Now, we’ve got to have some changes in this country,” she told the group. “And not only changes for the black man, and only changes for the black woman, but the changes we have to have in this country are going to be for liberation of all people–because nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” Shes 100 percent correct, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
I hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing weekend.
I was in Starbucks waiting on a mobile order the other day, and I saw a sign on the wall that said:
Shortly after I first moved to Vermont, a very close friend died in a terrible car wreck. I was not able to handle it well. The death hit me extremely hard. If you go back in time on the blog to December 2015 and early 2016, you’d probably be able to tell some of the pain I was going through. I bring this up because I decided that along with antidepressants, I needed to see a therapist to try and work through my grief. While I found the therapy to do more harm than good due to the therapist I saw, the therapist did make an interesting point that I think is largely true. I have a lot of hidden pain. This hidden pain came in several different forms. I was closeted most of my life. I hid who I really was from most people in my life. I suffered from depression and anxiety for many years and did not seek help when I should have. I essentially hid the pain associated with my headaches because I feared people would not take my headaches seriously. (More women suffer from migraines than men, so men who have migraines often hide their pain because they feel it makes them weak.) I also often hid my feelings. I didn’t want people to know how sad I was all the time. So, I hid a lot of who I was from the world around me for fear of being judged for who I was.
I was one of those people who was doing their best not to fall apart on a daily basis. I am also not the only one who hides their pain. I do try my best to be a kind person to those around me. I put on a happy face, even when I don’t always feel like doing so. I always have, and I probably always will. I want to make other people feel better. Wouldn’t we all like the world to be a better place? We live in a time when LGBTQ+ rights (particularly trans rights) are constantly being attacked and threatened. We have made many gains, but the fight is far from over. Voting rights are being attacked because Republicans want to make it harder for more liberal-minded people to vote. Many religious organizations are pushing for exemption from anti-discrimination laws to legally discriminate against those who don’t follow their narrow beliefs. We cannot stop the fight if we want to make the world a better place.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” The change Gandhi referred to can be significant changes like civil rights, but it can also be small changes like opening the door for someone, giving a helping hand when you see someone with their hands full, paying someone a compliment, reaching an item off a high shelf for someone, giving up your seat to someone who needs it more, or something as simple as smiling. There are so many little things we can do for those around us to spread a little kindness. I urge you today to send an encouraging text, make a phone call to say, “I’m thinking of you,” smile at a stranger, or do any number of small acts of kindness. You never know when that small act of kindness can keep someone from falling apart. Let your kindness be contagious.
June is Gay Pride Month, and kindness should be a part of who we are. The LGBTQ+ community has faced many hardships. Instead of treating others the way we were treated, we should treat others the way we want to be treated. Pride has always been an event for the diverse LGBTQ+ community and their allies to joyously declare their presence. Let that presence include kindness and acceptance. Pride had its roots in a rebellion against the policing of our lives. Being LGBTQ+ once meant we had a mental illness, and the simple act of wearing the clothes of another gender was illegal. The Stonewall Riots in late June 1969 proved to be a turning point for the LGBTQ+ community, but there is still more to be done. We cannot rest on our laurels. Pride celebrations are a festive “unity in diversity” that is a hallmark of Pride that continually evolves and responds to contemporary challenges. Most of us have struggled with coming out and coming to terms with our sexuality. We often hide parts of ourselves. Pride Month is a time when we can all say, “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!”
“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.” – Ransom Riggs
I used to hate my life. I wanted to be anything but what I was. I’ve accepted who I am more in the last five years since moving to Vermont than any other time in my life. Yes, I came out of the closet to myself twenty years ago, but I had basically resigned myself to the fact that I am gay. I realized I’d never want to marry a woman or have a romantic relationship with a woman, and if I tried, I’d end up making us both miserable. So, I admitted to myself that I am gay. I’d fought it far too long, and it nearly killed me, literally. I’d always been attracted to men, but I tried to suppress it. I did my best to deny my true self. However, admitting that I am gay is not really the same as accepting myself for who I am. There was always a part of me that wished I was not gay.
In the last five years, I quit wishing I wasn’t gay. I love being gay. I love accepting who I am and celebrating the fact that I am attracted to men. I want to find a man with whom I can spend the rest of my life. In many ways, I’m a different person than I was twenty years ago when I admitted to myself that I was gay. In fact, I’m a different person than I was five years ago. I am happy with who I have become, and it has made me a happier person. While I did once dream of escaping my ordinary life, I realized, my life, like that of all of our lives, is not ordinary. We are all extraordinary, and we need to celebrate who we are.
Life has become increasingly stressful. In normal times, we run from one appointment to the next, and during the current pandemic, we might not be running from appointment to appointment, but there are a new set of anxieties for us to handle. It’s only natural that at some point, we ask ourselves: “How can I reduce my stress levels?” But the answer is not always easy. When George Shultz — who died recently at age 100 — was secretary of state under Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, he developed a weekly ritual. He closed the door to his office and sat down with a pen and a pad of paper. For the next hour, Shultz tried to clear his mind and think about big ideas rather than the minutiae of government work. Only two people could interrupt him. His secretary was under orders to only allow interruptions from his wife or President Reagan.
Clearing our minds is good advice, especially these days of instant and constant interruptions from cellphones, computers, and social media. Four decades ago, when Shultz was secretary of state, technology was not as advanced, and it was easier to become unplugged because no one was “plugged in” to the technology that surrounds us today. These days, we are constantly interrupted by minutiae via alerts and text messages. They can make it impossible to carve out time to think through difficult problems in new ways or come up with creative ideas.
Letting our minds wander is said to make us more creative, better at problem-solving, and better at coming up with innovative ideas. The Dutch have a word for this concept: niksen, or the art of doing nothing. First, there was hygge, the Danish concept of creating a quality of coziness and comfortable happiness that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. Then there was lagom, a Swedish and Norwegian word meaning “just the right amount.” The Swedish mindset of approaching life with an “everything in moderation” mindset. The connotations in Norwegian, however, are somewhat different from Swedish. In Norwegian, the word has synonyms as “fitting, suitable, comfortable, nice, decent, well-built/proportioned.” Buddhist have an expression referred to as the “middle way.” The middle way refers to the understanding of practical life, avoiding the extremes of self-denial and self-indulgence, as well as the view of reality that avoids the extreme positions.
Now there’s another Northern European trend that many people are embracing as a way to combat our increasingly busy and often stressful lives: niksen. The Dutch concept is as simple as doing nothing. For many, doing nothing isn’t as simple as it sounds. In fact, it can be somewhat challenging to sit still and stare out a window, for instance. It can even feel unsettling at first when we are used to doing something at all times. However, if we push through the discomfort, we can take a few minutes each day to practice niksen and work up to longer stretches. Ideally, we would reserve one evening a week without appointments and obligations. However, there can be drawbacks if we devote too much time to doing nothing. Scientific literature suggests that a disadvantage of letting our minds wander for too long could be getting “caught up in ruminations” rather than feeling refreshed.
Some argue that boredom can open the mind to creativity, problem-solving, and more ambitious life goals. Niksen has the advantage of inspiring us. Inspiration almost always happens when we’re doing nothing special — when we’re showering or doing the dishes, for example. It is essential to do something “semi-automatically.” That means concentrating on something simple without much effort. Even a game on a smartphone can be niksen. These types of activities allow the brain to process information, which in turn leads to fresh and new ideas.
As the psychologist, Amos Tversky said, “You waste years by not being able to waste hours.” So, my advice is to take a few minutes each day when you can do nothing and let your mind wander and wonder. Don’t try to be creative but let your thoughts meander and see where they take you. You might be surprised at your increased productivity spurred on by doing nothing.
The picture above is from the blog Fit Studs by the blogger Hot Guys. While I think it is an appropriate picture for this post, it caught my eye because I have stood on one of the balconies of this same hotel. When I visit my friend Susan in Manhattan, I always stay at the Royalton Park Avenue Hotel at 29th Street and Park Avenue where this picture was taken. Below is a picture of me holding my complementary glass of champagne while on one of the Royalton’s balconies.
One of the things I think we all have learned this year is how selfish and hateful many people are. After four years of a Donald Trump presidency, people have lost all sense of decorum and decency. That was never more apparent than when the pandemic began, and people were asked to wear masks, social distance, and not gather in crowds. While many of us followed these directives, many others did not. They protested the mask mandates and the temporary closures because it “violated their personal freedoms.” Yet, they seemed to not care about others’ rights as they derided the Black Lives Matter Movement. Many people’s ugly personalities came out over 2020, and they became so prevalent we saw “Karens” and “Richards” everywhere we looked. People need to understand that they are not entitled to deny someone else their life, health, or livelihood. We’ve seen a Republican Senate that has refused to offer aid to starving and jobless Americans. When significant problems arose, they abdicated their leadership responsibilities for partisanship, Trumpism, and denial.
I hope that 2021 will be a year of healing. I pray that we will see a return to kindness. I want 2021 to be a year of hope. The Trump presidency will end on January 20, and hopefully, the Senate will be in the hands of Democrats after the January 5 runoff in Georgia. If the Republicans retain control of the Senate, we will see at least two more years of inaction and hatefulness. This coming year could be a year of great change and finally be a time when the United States moves in the right direction and lives up to the words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all menhumans are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The past year saw many people fight against the idea that all people are created equal, and they have done their best to deprive us of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This needs to change, and the United States needs to finally live up to its promise. We need equality and rights for all people wherever in the world they may be, and we need to be a world leader in making sure that comes to fruition. We need to put aside our differences and work together to make this world a better place before destroying it and becoming more akin to those dystopian novels of destruction where there is even greater suffering or injustice.
Let us pray that 2021 will be a better year. I pray it will be a year of hope and a year when we begin to work towards equality for all. I pray that we will work together to create a world that is devoid of discrimination on the basis of age, disability, genetic information, military service or veteran status, national origin, pregnancy, race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
I wish you all peace, good health, prosperity, and equality in the new year. May 2021 be a hope-filled year for all of humankind.