In this day of instant gratification, fake living through social media, a dearth of useful life skills and coping mechanisms due to a failing public educational system and real mentors, it is a wonder if any of us manage to live a full, happy and fulfilled life.

Social envy and self-deprecation based on fabricated public personas published by strangers we compare ourselves to, help to fuel discontent and depression. This, coupled with societal pressures from the heteronormative mainstream telling us what we should do, what we should have and who we should be, adds to that discontent. Then add a dating culture of on-demand, app-driven, single-experience encounters fulfilling carnal needs without deep emotional connection, and we have a generation of neurotic, depressed people searching for — but never finding — fulfillment.

Take all that, then factor in religious pressures that do not line up exactly with our life, and in some cases religious leaders like Robert Jeffress and others who spew hate and fearmongering instead of love and acceptance, as Christ would, and you have a recipe for disaster.

And to top it all off, we have a selfish, self-absorbed imbecile in the White House who has surrounded himself with the actual worst people humanity has to offer, and they are running this country in a way that physically, emotionally or financially hurts, kills or drains almost everyone in the world except for a very small group of his own supporters and sycophants.

Last year, 2019, was indeed a year to throw into the dustbin of history alongside a match and walk away with a plan for change. So plan for 2020 to be your year to change, and let’s see if we can make 2020 the turning point that we will look back on in December with pride.

I am but a simple man, experiencing the same life you are. But here is my plan for 2020. I hope you will borrow part or all of it for yourself:

1. Enjoy social media for what it is: entertainment. Tell yourself each time you view it that it is not real; it is a fabrication, and the photo you are seeing is the best one out of 20 or 30. 

That person is also living this hard life, and if they are a celebrity, they are likely surrounded by yes men and cling-ons that don’t actually love them and just want to use them. They probably have very few actual friends, and when they fall (think Lindsey Lohan; Lindsey I love you, and I’m glad you’re making a great comeback), all of their so-called friends will abandon them. So in that regard, you are wealthier and have more real friends. (P.S. most of them will only ever find this out after the fall.)

2. Ignore societal pressures to be someone you are not. You don’t need children at a certain age — or at all. You don’t need a spouse unless you want one, and you don’t need to own a home unless you want one. These things can come later when you are ready — or not at all.

Many successful people, including celebrities, go without those things, and they have very happy and successful lives. The list of happily single people includes Coco Chanel, Beethoven, Diane Keaton, Sheryl Crow, Oprah, Al Pacino, just to name a few. Marry for real love. Wait until you find that someone special that you can’t live without, and if that person never comes along, so be it. Be content with that decision. Don’t chase someone just because you think you must; it will end and leave you broken. Love comes naturally when you’re not looking, and you’ll know it when you find it.

3. Meet people; form connections; make friends; make friends with benefits; have sex.

Life is short, and by now, you are likely more than a third of the way through it, probably half for me. Enjoy sex, and don’t feel bad about any part of it. Sex is a natural part of your existence and a gift to be shared.

Sometimes sex is just sex, and that’s ok. But remember that it’s just sex, an itch to scratch, a quick fix. Don’t read too much into it. Our bodies are wired for it, and the drive can be overwhelming.

Sometimes sex is more, and when it is, it is a glorious thing to experience. Revel in it. Occasionally, sex coupled with love is a transcendent experience, and very few people find it frequently — or at all. But you should try at least once in your short life.

4. Ignore organized religions that espouse hate, marginalize groups of people or spew hate. Ignore their leaders. These people cherry-pick their religious tests to be bigots and hatemongers, and the architects of their religions would be appalled by them.

I lack the knowledge to speak on religions besides Christianity, but I can say with absolute certainty that Christ would brand Robert Jeffress and his ilk as Pharisees. They are a complete anathema to the teachings of Christ and have aligned themselves with an evil man, abdicating all moral and religious high ground. True Christianity and the teaching of Christ is good, so if you are religious, find a church that supports the true teachings of Christ and not the idolized worship of a political parties agenda and it’s evil leader. You will be much happier.

5. Be kind to everyone around you. Everyone is living the same hard, short life just with different challenges. Compassion and understanding help make everyone’s existence easier.

6. Finally, vote! Vote this monstrous, criminal, self-absorbed, bombastic, self-aggrandizing, megalomaniac, lying piece of human excrement out of office.

Vote to punish the people who supported him, put him in office, supported his deplorable actions that killed innocent children, polluted our air, water and natural resources. Vote to punish the GOP so that they can change back to a party of reason and fiscal responsibility. Vote to punish the party that espouses racism and hate and the leaders that turn a blind eye to it. And vote to end the religious zealots hold on the GOP.

Vote to punish all liars who hold office. Lying by public media and public officials should be illegal. Then let’s convene again this time next year and see how we did.

Clint Thomson is a Dallas businessman and active in the LGBTQ community.