Letter: A few basics to exercise for a happier 2020

Posted 1/1/20

To the editor:

Dear Mr. Manners:

I am 2019, and as I morph into another year, I find myself thinking about how I did. I understand that on a global scale things have improved: Less abject …

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Letter: A few basics to exercise for a happier 2020

Posted

To the editor:

Dear Mr. Manners:

I am 2019, and as I morph into another year, I find myself thinking about how I did. I understand that on a global scale things have improved: Less abject poverty, more clean water and electricity for those previously without, and much more.  Yet with so many people sour, unhappy, and pessimistic about the future, what could I have done differently to aid 2020?

Thanks, 2019

Dear 2019:

First, I get a similar question nearly every year. Our planetary system has seemed to speed up. Once our seasons rolled along at a pace that seemed predictable and that we understood. Now the speed of our communications has outpaced our ability to keep up, let alone reason and respond with discernment and confidence. Some of us have thrown up our hands and allowed headlines, snippets, and rumors to replace informed decisions. 

On one level, who could blame us?  We may even believe that to regain control of our senses and to recover our happiness would be an impossible lift. But would it? Like the old saw about “blocking and tackling” in football, we would do well, individually and collectively, to return to some basics. 

2019, here are some examples of basics to exercise in 2020: Politeness is a good thing; humility gives rise to cooperation; the world belongs to us all; diversity is always a power for good; vulnerability precedes courage; male dominance is coercive and corrosive; and real happiness comes from serving others. 

So, 2019, you did what you could, and we will miss many of your lessons. Now it is up to us all to help you into and through 2020 with love for our neighbors and even a little pride in ourselves.

Will Newman

Tiverton

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.