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“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…” – Charles Dickens

“I need to remember this…” – Don Henley

My world was filled with both joys and sorrows this year, as, I suspect, was yours. I lost a dog to death, and a friend to politics. I was forced to trade a big backyard for a small covered patio. I found encouragement and courage from those who love and support me. They made it possible for me to begin a new chapter in my life I had never before considered. If you had told me in 2018 that by the end of 2019 more than 2,500 strangers would read my work, I would have asked what you were smoking, and if I could have some please. If someone had suggested I would have a podcast that would get played more than 500 times, I would have thought they were selling something. I was wrong.

So let me, as Mr. Henley suggests, “offer up my best defense.”

I learned this year. My Idealism has come into sharper focus than ever before, because I keep writing and talking about it. I have a clearer vision of the world I want to see. I don’t know the logistics. Perhaps I will by this time next year, but I doubt it. I have friends, though, who have ideas about this, and perhaps I can learn a bit from them.

I read several dozen books this year. I’ve been all through time and space in the last 365 days. I spent moments with people both admirable and horrible, and I learned from their experiences. I shared their joys and sorrows, and they became mine. I made friends, both fictional and living, this year. They’ve expanded my horizons and my heart.

I have been the fortunate recipient of unwarranted love, and I have encountered unthinking hatred. I found greater love for myself, and from my cats. I became a Cat Person this year.

I have seen my country’s constitution attacked, viciously and repeatedly by some, and then bravely defended by others. I’ve seen Freedom threatened, and I’ve seen Liberty fight back. I continue to hope.

I don’t know what the coming year will bring, but I will help, in my tiny way, to make it a world more interested in humanity than in money, more concerned with finding cooperation in love than in fighting in hatred, and more tolerant of, and, delighting in, our differences.

I hope that both you and I can grow this year. I hope we share ideas, aspirations, fears, and triumphs with each other. I hope we understand one another just a little better.

In 2019, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” – Maya Angelou

“Let us go then, you and I” into this New Year. I wish you health and happiness. Live long and prosper.