I celebrate my first full year of blogging by treating you to a compilation of bygone blogs this Thanksgiving Day. Because I can. That’s what makes blogging so fun. No one is there to tell me what to write, when to write, or how to write.

In my dreams. In real life my partner in life has something to say about every blog. But he doesn’t get to do it beforehand. I like to surprise him – and myself – sometimes.

It all started with the TRUMPs . The series ran in 15 parts with symbols and strawberries thrown in. The blogs were born out of frustration. The TRUMPs series ended, but the frustration remained.

But life isn’t all about politics. Much less about US politics. It’s natural to worry about the state of our democracies and the uncertainties created by ourselves, be it by acts that affect our climate or by politics. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t live fully, laugh   often, and count our blessings regularly.

Life is also about values and common decency. A year ago I blogged about bowing to fear and unreasonSome time ago US Senator Jeff Flake addressed the same concerns from the floor of the US senate.

Life is complexWe all wish Someone would take care of things for us. That way we could concentrate on getting on with our lives. With the day-to-day problems and the fun parts.

This has been a normal year of day-to-day problems and fun parts for yours truly too.

Our two homes became construction sites for a while, which was not fun at all. I experienced the torture of flying far too often, and had pain as my partner again a few times. Luckily the latter was just a passing scare.

I had second and third thoughts about replacing our old car, the famous Cowwith a new one. And so the list goes on, but the problems are small compared to those that the world is facing. Sadly these too are my problems by the end of the day.

Then again, our travels took us to the US, Sweden, Eastern Finland, and Italy , to name a few highlights. Whatever the politicians do, there are still wonderful vistas to enjoy, lovely people to meet, and delicious foods to savour everywhere. Nothing could stop our enjoyment.

It’s time to give thanks. For one more year with my partner in life. For family and friends. For all the ups and downs that make life worth living. For my readers who have followed me through this first year of blogging.

Last but not least, for the human rights that I am free to enjoy, one of which is freedom of speech.

My topics have ranged from  populism, bigotry, hatred, and terrorism, to education, genetics, and the Dunbar number; with parrots, peacocks, sparrows, raccoons, and pigs thrown in.

Looking back, there is one major area of our lives – and that of decision-makers both in Finland and in the US – that I haven’t ventured into: the healthcare system.

That’s where I draw the line. I am more confident in the findings regarding climate change than I am in any proposals regarding national healthcare systems.

But I should make an effort – we all should wherever we are – to understand these issues better. They affect us from the day we are born to the day we die. Which might happen sooner rather than later, if our respective healthcare systems don’t work as they should.

It will probably take me a full year to understand the mess that the politicians are making of the Finnish healthcare system at the moment. But I will give it a go. I may even blog about it, if I can make any sense of it.

But more importantly, I am off on a quest to find better tools to make sense of the world in general. I found a book that I had bought in 2012 in desperation. The title says it all: This Will Make You Smarter.

We are nearing the end of 2017 now, and I notice no serious improvement in my thought processes. Maybe the fault lies with me, not the book. The time for a refund has passed whichever the case may be.

I am going to revisit the book and see where I went wrong. Maybe I will take you with me on this journey. We will see.

While others go shopping for Black Friday stuff, I will concentrate on ideas. I am done with all this crazy shopping. I have enough material things to last me a lifetime. What I don’t have is enough tools to make sure my nearest and dearest can enjoy a happy life too.

Unless it truly is all about seizing the moment, as the latest addition to my art collection (see featured image by Rick Hotton) reminds me. We all have our moments.

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