Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Long Winter Blues

It's much too cold, isn't it?

I think if we asked most people what they thought the worst month of the year is, assuming they didn't just pick the ones containing holidays they don't like, the obvious winner would certainly have to be January. Despite it being the first month of a new year, it frequently feels as if it is not quite the fresh start we hope it to be. Most people, in my view, see it as confirmation that the worst will continue unabated. This is mostly due to the weather hangover sticking around over the New Year's celebration, and into February. It doesn't help that the month is so long, either.

Whether you are one who loves the New Year celebration or not, you would have to admit that January most definitely does not sustain that feeling you get from entering a new year with all that hope in your heart. Usually, the punishing cold and snow, which most of us tire of long before January, lasts far too long into the fresh year, making most steer into a depressing mood before anything has even really started. It quickly switches people from hopeful moods into despairing ones. And all of this happens in less than a month!

I can only speak of personal experience, but it is one thing I've noticed being on this earth for as long (and as little) as I have been. January is the month of nothing where no one wants to do anything, typically have no motivation to do anything, and let themselves be beaten down by all the worst parts of life that they think will always follow them down. Even on my social media timeline is it more gloom and doom than it normally is, especially compared to what is was at Christmas in December. It feels like a backslide more than a new start.

There are medical reasons that lead to this feeling, too. Shorter daylight hours and lack of sunlight and serotonin can effect the brain in a very negative way. Even worse when one's exercise routine is cut into due to the terrible weather some places receive which make it more of a hassle and challenge. And because of this down state, we tend to keep to ourselves, draw in, and refuse to connect with others. In other words, this is a good reason why so many resolutions at New Years can't even make it through the first month.

The easiest thing to say is to just "get over it" and exercise or communicate with people regardless of how you feel, but what may be better to do is to use the opportunity to understand why we fall into this rut in the first place. It might truly be seasonal, it might be health related, it might involve personal issues, or it might just be bad timing, but all contribute to letting the isolation and cold get to us in a way we simply don't at any other time of the year. To be honest, this is probably one of the biggest advantages to living in the south: not having to deal with the winter blues, or at least not having to deal with all the factors that lead to it.

Let's face it, by January, we're already waiting for spring. To be fair, the promise of a new year and a fresh start is more suited to that season anyway!

On the other hand, the current state of the world probably doesn't help with the mood, especially after years of a pandemic that broke societal cohesion and trust in a way we've never seen in our lives before. It is far more likely that this feeling is the result of more than just a medical or season issue: it just becomes more visible in the darker months of the year. Unfortunately, the darkest months just so happen to come at the beginning.

You might be wondering about the tone shift of the blog this year. That is because I've noticed things have been getting rather bleak out there. Not just in the online space, but everywhere I look there seems to be a dark cloud hanging over something. Regardless of your religious or political beliefs, everyone can see something bad is coming on the horizon, like the end of an era. We don't really know what that will consist of or when it will happen, but we all realize how things are simply can't go on as they have been. It is not sustainable.

But this blog is called Wasteland & Sky, there are two words for a reason. You can always have hope in what comes ahead. There is plenty of good out there, much to still strive for. If we give up now, we give up on ourselves and everyone else as well as the world we were given by God. However long we might have until whatever is bound to happen actually happens, we still have work we can do. There is no point harboring anxiety about a future that will come for us eventually. We can only control what we choose to do after it arrives.

What we need right now more than ever is to remember that life is worth living in a time where it does not always feel so, where being alone is looked at as the highest good while alienation and atomization kills. Whether it's the little things or the bigger things, there's always a reason you were given the gift to rise in the morning. You aren't alone out there.

I realize this post is a bit out of the realm of this blog, but I feel it's something worth mentioning regardless, because it isn't a topic we talk about all too much or ever really comes up. January always seems to sneak up on us, then we limp slowly from it, never bothering to bring attention to the odd tonal shift it causes every single time it blindsides a new year. We don't have to let it do that. We can still keep steady on course.

So I'll put this out as a reminder, not just to you, but myself as well. We made it to a new year! Not everyone got to experience it. Not only that, but there are countless numbers of people who lived before and will live in the future that will never live in the time period you are in right now. There are things only you can do, things only you can accomplish at this very moment! It might not even be a big thing, but everything ends up snowballing regardless. Eventually it all comes together in ways you will never expect. It's all connected, in the end.

To be clear, I don't know how much longer we will have to walk in the wilderness. No one really does. But it will end eventually. All things do. And when it ends, we will be there to see in what comes next--what we have helped build up for the oncoming future.

Don't let the cold and the dark beat you down. It's just temporary. Just consider it a break from the more hectic times of the year, a moment of rest to recharge your batteries. We can't be moving at high speed all the time, after all. Take it easy, if you need to, but don't let it hold you down. Just keep moving forward.

Once again, welcome to 2023! We've got a brand new year waiting ahead of us. Let's be sure to make it count!

Friday, January 20, 2023

Final Tales of the Mongoose & Meerkat!

Find it Here!

Here it is, the long awaited final book in the series! After a long run in Cirsova magazine, the Mongoose & Meerkat stories by Jim Breyfogle are finally getting compiled together for one last collection. Now Cirsova has decided it's time for the final release! You can find the Kickstarter campaign here.

Here is the description:

"Two years have passed since the fall of Alness. And two years have passed since the brash young sellsword Mangos teamed up with Kat, the mysterious Alnessi rogue. Together, they have made a name for themselves as the Mongoose and Meerkat!

The ravaged northlands still smolder as the warlord Rhygir holds Alness in an iron grip. Rumors swirl that a member of the Alnessi royal family may have survived, but Rhygir is intent on hunting down any resistance that might rally to a rogue prince who escaped the slaughter.

Though Rhygir has been consolidating power in Alness, the Mongoose and Meerkat have been hard at work, gathering resources and making alliances in Alomar and abroad. But can the new allies and old friends overcome the army of Rhygir before it can be bolstered by elite mercenaries?

All of the pieces of the King's Game are place!

The Redemption of Alness collects the third year of Kat and Mangos's adventures together, including: 
  • The Flying Mongoose
  • Death and Renewal
  • Fight of the Sandfishers
  • Thunder in the North
  • Feast of the Fedai*
  • Trapped in the Loop - [Previously unpublished]*
  • The Redemption of Alness - [Previously unpublished]*

* : [We WILL be publishing these stories serially in Cirsova Magazine, however backers of Volume 3 will get these these last two stories before they are published in the Fall and Winter 2023 issues].

Additionally, this volume will include the previously unpublished short story Knots in the Thread of Time AND a teaser for Jim Breyfogle's upcoming novel, A Bad Case of Dead!"

Of course, there is also a stretch goal, bundles of all three books, and concept art for those who enjoy such things. There is plenty available, and the campaign just started, so be sure to peruse the page at your own leisure.

I should also give my congratulations to both Jim Breyfogle and Cirsova for finishing this project years in the making! You certainly deserve the tremendous success and response you have received!

Once more, you can find the Kickstarter here!

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Weekend Lounge ~ True Community

I mentioned the Internet Archive in the last post, so I thought I would use this moment to recommend something for you to watch from it. Put out somewhere around 1960, Ask Me, Don't Tell Me is a short documentary about early street gangs, before they would become the problem they are today. This is a very interesting short film in how it applies to how things are today, and how they might even change for us in the future.

Much of the issue back then came from multifold sources. The first being immigrant kids with no identity or community to latch onto, the other being homegrown kids feeling detached from a society that didn't seem to want them around. All of it centers on the truth of early stage alienation that we are infected with today.

What you might not know is that gangs were originally "social clubs" of teenagers and young adults who formed their own mini-communities where they belonged, centering in places like pool halls where they could blow off steam and have fun. It is from this that the more disaffected could be dragged into worse things, such as in the movie City Across the River (this one is just a movie from 1949), or might be guided into more positive directions such as in the autobiographical Cross and the Switchblade. The important thing is to find the place one belongs, and that is easier to do when one has a sense of place where they are raised and grow.

If there is one issue of modernity that needs to be fixed over all others, this is near the top of the list. Thankfully, it appears this is changing more and more every day. Hopefully this hallmark of the previous century will be a thing of the past sooner than later.

Ask Me, Don't Tell Me is public domain, and you can watch it on the Internet Archive here! Watch it in tandem with City Across the River and you might be amazed at how little the core problem has changed over the last half century. The Cross and the Switchblade is also available, if you want a more radical example of what can happen in these sorts of places. I recommend all three for a more complete understanding of exactly aspects of the previous century not talked of more.

Nonetheless, things have begun to turn around. Oddly enough, the internet has allowed more tools for communication than ever before, and avenues to seek help that were never available before. To rebuild the community, one must rebuild the self.

It all starts with gratitude!

Now a Helicon Award Winner!

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Miracles in Minutes

A lot of peace in life comes from acceptance, things we deal with that we hate and the impatience we allow to creep in as a result of wanting to escape. I'm sure you've felt it, we all do. We've all been stuck in a situation we don't think we should be in, we need to claw our way out, we need to defeat it and leave that mess all behind us. After all, we don't want to be held back from what we truly want to do. Who would?

But the truth is that, in life, you are not going to get to do all you truly want to do; and the things you want to do might not end up giving you the satisfaction you thought you would get from it. Perhaps you are not aiming in the right direction.

The turning point comes when you realize you might be stuck in that rut, that supposed low point, for the rest of your life. Most reflection that comes from this leads two ways: utter defeatism and despair, or desperation for escape from it. Two sides of the same coin, more or less. But there is another option, and that is gratitude for being in such a position in the first place. It is at that point you can truly realize what matters, and how lucky you are to exist right now in the first place--that you even have the opportunity to wake up in the morning at all.

You see, you are not in control of your life. There are tasks you can do, people you can help, situations you can engage--and there are also things you simple cannot ever deal with or change. Perhaps you were never meant to. Perhaps that is not your role here to play. The fact that we can even do anything at all in life should fill us with a sense of gratitude, not the desire to bite off more than we can swallow and lose patience that our jaws aren't wide enough to fit it all in. There is a sense in grandness by understanding how small you actually are in relation to everything else. Gratitude.

There is always a possibility, no matter how remote, that the situation you are currently stuck in, the situation you detest so much, might be where you spend the rest of your life. It very well might not be, but imagine if it was and accept it for a moment. Would that be the worst outcome you could think of? Do you think there is any way you could even consider the possibility that you are here because it is where you need to be? Perhaps the alternative would lead you astray, down the path of self-destruction, staining your soul and leading to untimely despair, or, even worse, unimaginable material success. What would you do then?

Man is judged on what he does, but we also must take stock on what it is that we do. You are not in competition with any other man, living or dead. You might want to be known like one of your heroes, but you can only be you. We make note of pulp speed, for instance, as a tool for creation, but that is simply a way to improve motivation for your output. There are plenty of writing formulas that exist to instruct you how to put fingers to keyboard, but they are not formulas for success: they are formulas meant to give you directions to your goal.

But what is your goal? Is it clear? Does it take into account just why we are here in the first place? If not, perhaps it should.

This is going to sound simple and cheesy, but the truth usually is. Maybe that's why we've trained ourselves to dismiss such attitudes. You are here to be you, because there is no one else that can be you. You're here for a reason but, despite what you might think, won't ever know every reason you are here or what you are meant to do. Every interaction you have with others in this life, no matter how minor, rolls out into everyone else, in ways you won't even understand. You simply cannot know. It's one of the mysteries of existence that everything we do matters, even things that seemingly have no value, like leaving a tip at a cash register. In this sort of case, how can we not find ourselves blessed to simply wake another day and live?

Artists of all stripes tend to get discouraged these days, thinking that unless they reach the top of the sales charts (in whatever medium they work in) whatever they create has no value. It is all about monetary success, otherwise it is a waste.

But that is not true. No one can ever know the precise value of what they create in anything. It's simply not possible.

For all you know, that song you wrote and dumped on Bandcamp might be found by one random person on a particularly bad day, and it will give them the motivation to do something they might not have had the motivation to do beforehand. The painting you can't seem to sell might have brightened someone's day and given them the inspiration to create something of their own. The screenplay you wrote might not get made now, but maybe a third party might stumble upon it and be inspired to act in some other facet of their life. They might never even tell you that. The game you made might never leave the testing stage, but one of the testers might have gotten a story out of it to tell people for years. There are an infinite number of possibilities.

Who is to say? There are many different ways things can go, and no way to know what will happen. This truly means that we will never really understand the world we so want control over. Your suffering might bring you fruits in ways you will never see coming. There is just no way to know. Every day, the world is new.

Sometimes all you can do is pray. Sometimes that is enough. There is a solemn sense of gratitude to understand that you aren't really in control. The fact that you are here in the first place means you still have a role to perform that you haven't completed yet.

Eventually, you'll find it.

We can apply this attitude to everything in life.

You might be upset you will never put out 300 books in your lifetime, but what if there is a reason you can't? What if you were meant to put out 3, or 13, or 30, instead? Is that so bad? Maybe you were meant to have a handful of people read it, get inspired, and have it affect their mood or their lives for even just a moment. Would that not have made it all worth it, in the end?

You are not your neighbor. You are not your relative. You are not your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, or sisters. You are you--someone who has a unique role to play in this life, unlike anyone else does. While we can surmise general advise and tips to help out the majority in similar situations, there are always exceptions to every rule. We are not very good at seeing those exceptions, mostly because we want a clear direction forward. We can have blindness to the point where we will ignore who we are meant to be in order to dig a way out of any pit we might have fallen in. The term "work smarter, not harder" applies even more to discernment. If you find yourself sliding and unable to reorient yourself, this is probably the issue. Take a step back, and assess the situation you are in.

While the entire discourse around the word "snowflake" became a massive warzone and minefield over the years, one needs to remember the ultimate truth at the bottom of where the saying originally came from. At the end of the day, you are not "just like everyone else" and neither are you a special superman above reproach. You are you--a human being with a unique path through life that no one else will have. No, even if you think the broad strokes are the same, the events you live through, the challenges you face, the things you will see, will never be 100% the same. That is all the more reason why we should never lose connection with others: we will never have their perspective, and they will never have ours. That difference in experience is more valuable than we sometimes realize.

This isn't a sort of "you could always have it worse" message, because you could also always have it better. The point is that you can only live this life you have, its ups and its downs, and like Job you won't understand why there are things you want that you can't have. But at the end of the day, it all contributes to making you into who you were always meant to be. That is something no one else can be. Only you can be who you are at the place and time you are at right now. It might not be glamorous, it might not be ideal, it might be embarrassing, it might not even be acceptable by modern standards, but it is you.

Once one gets to the point where they can express gratitude even the negatives of their life as they continuously wake up into a situation they do not like, they might find a new appreciation for even that negative. At that point, what is to even complain about? All that is left is gratitude at another chance to live.

So as it is with art. "Success" might not exactly come in the way you think it will. As long as you have that sense of gratitude in simply creating, then what more do you need?

Now, of course, this isn't exactly something that is easy to say, never mind accept. We all have to process our own way through life, come what may. However, attitude and expectations are definitely things that can be managed. A shift in thought process can wrangle much joy out of a situation where there is little to be found on the surface. Sort of ironic.

As an example, when I was a child, something of the scale of the Internet Archive would have been thought impossible. You can find old books, movies, articles, documentaries, articles, TV shows, websites, and everything you can imagine, at your finger tips. It's all free, too. This easily blows away modern streaming services, never mind the old rabbit ears antenna of four channels and a bunch of static. But are we happier than we were then? Are we enjoying these new inventions and appreciating just how much we have available now that we didn't before? Shouldn't we? This is something our ancestors would have dreamed of. Shouldn't we see this for what it is, and be humbled that we live in a time where this is possible?

I think we're starting to, and that is most definitely a giant leap forward to where we were not long before. Gratitude is the starting point to true change.

You might see the news, or follow media accounts on social media, and allow that to color your view of the world. But if you look outside of that, you will find scores of people striving to travel the right road, putting others first, and doing all they can to be the best person they can be. The 21st century is just getting started, and I don't think it's quite going to go where we think it will. As long as we remember the joy of gratitude and second chances, we will always go far.

The year has just started, remember. Who knows what awaits ahead of us? Let us just feel grateful that we will experience it at all.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

2023 is Here!

Welcome to the New Year! I hope you are ready to start this one off strong. For some reason, I am much more inspired at the beginning of this year than I have in previous years. I couldn't quite tell you why, but we have a good opportunity to make this year count, especially as it feels like lockdown world (God willing) is finally becoming a thing of the past. New avenues are opening up.

I already told you my main plan this year in regards to writing, but that is just what I'm planning on putting out. Behind the scenes, there's other stuff happening. I'm not even certain if there won't be more, or unexpected diversions, but that's life.

Aside from that, I also feel as if we'll be wrapping up Cannon Cruisers this year, since we're quickly nearing the end of the list in regards to movies we can cover. After that, I have ideas for what we might do next, but I'll still have to talk to my compadre about it. Nonetheless, it will be nice after over half a decade to close a long-running project off. It's been a good time, and things have changed a lot since we started. I wrote about it at the end of last year here. Hopefully, you will continue to join us until the end. It's been fun.

The blog will also keep trucking along through 2023. I don't have three entire books to write, edit, design, and release, this year, so I won't be as distracted from it, though I can't say things still won't come up. You really can't plan around life, after all. But I will continue to do what I can when I can do it.

Aside from that, I'm still considering new avenues to expand into with writing. I've done novels, short stories, novellas, novelettes, and standalones (as well as a previously written series I'm getting out this year), on top of the previous year allowing me to reach new ground with releases like our free Generation Y book, The Last Fanatics, and Y Signal, all of which are much different from what I did before. While I'm putting out work, I'm also working on other things behind the scenes that will take even longer to come out. for instance, I've had a series I've been working on for years in the background, but I've never been able to give it proper focus. This year, however, I want to really shake things up.

One thing I am hoping is that this is the year our general defeatism at the way things are finally fades and we begin excitedly aiming for higher things once again. We're about due for a proper mindset shift. Not just in our art and entertainment, but in attitude. It feels as if we are finally escaping the grip of the 2010s, on the cusp of something new, something better, and we really need to fight for it. Staying stuck in this stagnant repetitive thought trap just isn't going to cut it anymore, regardless of what those in charge think.

The mainstream's obsession with reboots and subversive relaunches has more or less run out of gas. Trying to pretend the newest Ferngully remake is going to have any sort of cultural impact today when it didn't over a decade ago is a cope to the fact that the old era is already over. The wider culture has moved past that era, even if those in charge want to continue to pretend it hasn't. We are in the position to build something new, and a lot of us are doing just that, but the overall energy is shifting. I can't say if it'll be this year, if 2023 is finally going to be the year it starts, but I feel like we are on the cusp of something really breaking out big to shake up the status quo. A lot of things were put to bed in 2022, the 25th anniversary of Cultural Ground Zero, and new avenues are opening up ahead of us. There is an excitement building, pointing us in new directions.

For too long we've put up with and excused blandness and emptiness because wanting more is considered novelty or childish, but that has never been true no matter how much it has been asserted or pushed in the media that has long since turned against us. It isn't silly to want a chain restaurant to look good because it's a corporate product, everything should look its best, especially when customers are involved. Why should you put up with less just because a corporation made it? That is silly. We should want to live in a society where trying to be good needs several qualifiers and asterisks beside them, not one that excuses decay.

I suppose I should expand on the above example. You've probably seen more than a few jokes centered around how anyone thinking that chain restaurants like Pizza Hut or McDonalds should look good are silly or something, but that misses the point of the complaint. Why shouldn't they look their best? Why shouldn't everything? The fact is that if things can be better than they are, then they should be better. Why should you, why should anyone, be trained into wanting less? Why should you be made to expect less because it is easier for a corporation to not bother? It isn't about the things themselves, but about the lack of any ambition at all.

You've certainly seen some variation of the below meme before, whether serious or ironic, the message is very obvious.



Whether you think the above image is silly or not is irrelevant to the fact that you can't deny the below is objectively worse than the above. Knowing this, even as minor as it is, why should one think it a good thing? Why should one accept it? Who benefits from you accepting it? This might not be a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but why does that make it okay? Why should you have no standards at all, because it is easier for billionaires for you not to have them?

It is normal to want to look at interesting or creative things, no matter how silly or minimal. It is not normal to want to look at bland nothing emptiness, no matter how it has been advertised to you for the last 25 years to prefer it over all.

And it feels as if most people understand this by now. The bare minimum of effort is not only not respectful to yourself or others, but it's also boring. The biggest problem to come from Cultural Ground Zero was how everything melted into a pile of bland goo and no one appeared to care if they even noticed in the first place. You can look at photos from 2006 and then from 2018 and you won't find much different between them, even though you'll also never find anyone who thinks what was produced during that time being ideal either. Now, however? It's not enough anymore. People have decided they deserve more, even as those in charge decided they should have nothing instead. We are hitting a low, even as we are beginning to aim high.

So what exactly will the legacy of the 2020s be? From what we've seen so far, it appears to be a transitional era between the death of modernity, Cultural Ground Zero, and the first step towards something grander to come later. We are on the precipice of change, but what that change will be is still up in the air. Where it'll all end up is anyone's guess, but those paying attention have seen attitudes shift, especially over the last three years, desiring more than the bare minimum and reaching out to higher places. Ambition is what they want to see again. I think we all do.

That said, I still believe the 2020s are going to be rocky time overall, especially as we decide exactly where we want to go. There will be much in the way of growing pains and a loss of good things as the decay of the 20th century is power-washed away. How things will look in the future is anyone's guess, but it will eventually shape up into an era we won't be able to recognize. Think about how people in 1880 would have seen the year 1980. They would not have conceived of the amount of change that occurred.

Things never stay the same.

The difference between past change and modern change, however, comes in with the fact that it will now no longer hinge on technological advancement as the sole marker of progress. That era is over. Material progress has brought about all the social change it can, especially in the positive, now we will have to learn to work around it going forward, which probably means a lot of it will be voluntarily cast aside out of necessity. Future change will have to come internally, before it can come externally. That will be tough when we've been told to avoid spiritual development for over a century now. We are going to have to make a lot of hard decisions on how to progress beyond this point.

In other words, there won't be a lot of wisdom or advice to be gained from looking back at the 20th century as a signpost. If anything, it will only be looked at as the polar opposite of what to do. We'll be subject to a lot of overcorrection in the years to come. We more or less are now, especially from those who know there is a problem and refuse to consider alternatives to fix it.

Much of the pushback that occurred on The Last Fanatics came from some readers drawing conclusions out of events spelled out for them. Fandom, people who have shown themselves less than admirable, made decisions in that past that we were never allowed to question before, because . . . well, there isn't any reason. Anti-social misfits wanted a club, constructed one by mutating someone else's genre, then others came in to back them up because they don't want to interact or live in the same world as normal people. This isn't even an argument, everyone knows this is what happened. So why would it make someone upset to have it spelled out for them?

Even as that world dies, proving it was never built on solid ground to begin with, why do we continue to pretend as if they discovered any kind of truth? They did not, and the following century was spent building off anti-social behavior that led to a bunch of warriors of justice screaming about how evil America is while they hold a conference outside concentration camps in China. All to stick to those mean normies that didn't listen to the smart set!

This has always been a scam. It's just a shame that they were allowed to operate unopposed for so long. Not like it matters now, as they slide into irrelevancy, replaced by the next set of useful idiots to be used against normal folk instead.

There are a lot of buried truths being dug up right now that we will have to reapply to continue forward. There are certain things in modern society you are endlessly allowed to criticize because mass media says you can, but question the tenets they built their entire house of cards on (a house that crumbled long ago but we are told to pretend it has not) and you hit a sore spot and become a target for destruction.

That pathway ran out of road long ago. It is time for better ways. It is time to build on better roads left abandoned long ago. We can't stay on this dead end street forever. The last quarter century has proved that it is fruitless to try. They're already falling apart.

Regardless of what happens next, we should be aiming higher anyways. The old world is passing away, but that doesn't mean we have to forget all we learned from it. In fact, unless we take from it going forward we will be doomed to fall into this pit again. We're always going to make mistakes getting it right, but at some point we'll have to make new ones, or at least the old ones in different ways. We can't keep up the same farce forever, pretending things not getting better is preferable to decline. You can't stop decline that way, you just make it take longer to play out.

When I say it is time for better ways, I mean it. We can't afford to keep up the failures of the 20th century. It's time to start aiming higher again.

So what's stopping you? If you've been reading here for years then you know just how much things in the outside world have changed in subtle ways. Many things we took for granted are gone, many ideas, fads, and notions, all fell by the wayside. What remains? The simple fact that doing your best is still the best avenue for getting something done. Nothing is stopping you from doing what you can, aside from you.

Don't let the dying mainstream drag you down with it. We're going to need someone to rebuild when it collapses in on itself, after all. We can't let the same mistakes be repeated forever.

Here is hoping that 2023 will finally be the year it all changes, or at least shows willingness to move in a different, better direction. Regardless, we can still give it the shove needed. We're on the cusp of better days, might as well begin pushing for it.

As always, don't let the winter blues get you down so early in the year! Let's start it off strong and keeping pushing. It's the only way to move forward.

Happy New Years, and welcome to 2023! Let's make it count!