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Davis Journal

Credo for a New Year

Jan 12, 2023 11:42AM ● By Pepper Pro

There are some things I rarely experienced growing up, not because my parents weren’t loving and nurturing but because they emerged from the Great Depression in blue-collar neighborhoods with little money and less opportunity for education. Their generation was forged for wars.

There remain a few acorns worth casting, and the job of living isn’t done if an elder doesn’t plant a few for the future. These I’ve learned and wish to share with family and friends: encouragement piled high even when it might sound shoveled; humor and its clever stepchild of self-deprecation; praise when deserved; constructive criticism, and sparsely placed aphorisms to recollect when I’m gone.

I’ll say I am proud of you at every turn I notice to reinforce your sense of self-worth and confidence, and that it’s OK to be sensitive and listen to your heart and follow your intuition with logic; to place a high value on spontaneity but think important things through if it matters.

Let me remind you to never, ever let go of your dreams; that persistence and incremental progress will always edge you forward toward realization of those dreams, no matter how expansive. Mistakes are often what you learn the most from. Bad habits are hard to break, so be aware of those you develop and nurture worthy ones, like saving on a regular basis, no matter how little. Keep screw-ups in perspective because all incongruities, frailties and faux pas can be ironed out, and they fade with every sunrise.

Aim for an occupation you consider play and a joy, but be aware that all work, no matter how humble, is honorable. I’ll help you see, as well, that sometimes, if you don’t change direction, you’ll end up where you’re headed, for better or worse, and that 95 percent of people don’t complete their goals and the final push distinguishes the great from the good. Meanwhile, let art simmer inside you.

I hope we have learned together to form our own opinions, keep our hearts and minds open, our palms up, and distance ourselves from the manipulative, covert and self-serving.

You already know how high a value I place on nature and every habitat on this paradise we call Earth, that I mourn the mess that men have made of it, tried to create long-term impact to improve it, and urge you to plant your own green contribution. You know I believe in an unorthodox, omnipresent interpretation of God that lives in each of us, within you and all around you; that all things are interdependent, and the universe loves you and wants to help every one of us to evolve.

I’ll continue to nudge you to mind critical things: to give a damn about where everything you eat comes from; to floss daily because germs are like liars who can’t last in the light; that deep rest is regenerative; that posture and a strong core matter, and exercise is a lifetime commitment. Keep in mind the yoga principle: There is much strength in flexibility.

Let me remind you that reading takes you everywhere and knowledge empowers, rounds out character and matures into wisdom. I hope by example to teach you the value of things both material and immaterial. I plead for discourse but want you to hear me wail against war-mongering profiteers. I wish you a world rich in diversity that somehow, someday recognizes that peace is the ultimate return on investment for long-term profit.

Finally, please remember that family and friends are rare, synonymous with happiness and require cultivation. And give thanks often; it sets the tone for any day. I promise an exponential return in joy.

And I pledge to be there with you, sic transit gloria mundi. You inspire me and give as good as you get.




Pepper Pro, a former news editor, lives in the Southwest. He advocates for human rights, environmental justice and diversity.