SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, November 28, 2013—Given that there are exceptions to every rule, it’s fair to say that this hasn’t been a great year for the planet Earth in general, for America in particular.

All know what the issues are and rather than spell them out, if you’re that curious google-up any date on the calendar and the positive lead stories are few and far in between.

This is not the fault of mainstream media, although they work tirelessly at sensationalizing the truly trivial, lest they incur the wrath of underwriters. After all, corporations are people, too.

It is doubtless that many have had positive outcomes to the thankful for, but the overwhelmingly majority of all those people will, like their families, have to work overtime at the spin factory.

But, still, today is still the greatest of the secular holidays and it needs to be acknowledged by anyone who still is drawing breath. I personally have learned the hard lesson of 2013; that every day is a gift.

And, so, let us give thanks this day with our traditional acknowledgement for a life that may be well lived. Thanks to the efforts of sometime HRI Brad Morgan, let’s devour the words of Max Ehrmann like so many drumsticks and pumpkin pies:

DESIDERATA

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be
greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.