Happy New Year!
There, I said it quietly for anyone suffering the ill effects of a . . . long night.
Today is the first day of another new year. I think I’ve seen 62 of these, although the first few might be a bit fuzzy around the edges (come to think of it, so were a few others). This is supposed to be a time of waxing poetic, thinking deep thoughts and looking ahead.
Yeah, OK.
What I mostly want to concentrate on is something I recently read about the galaxy’s richest guy, Warren Buffett. He reportedly said that money can buy you hospital wings and all sorts of things. But, like the Beatles said back in ’64 (which brings up a whole different Beatles reference . . . but I digress), it can’t buy you love.
The article quoted the following from Buffett: “The trouble with love is that you can’t buy it. You can buy sex. You can buy testimonial dinners. But the only way to get love is to be lovable. It’s very irritating if you have a lot of money. You’d like to think you could write a check: I’ll buy a million dollars’ worth of love. But it doesn’t work that way. The more you give love away, the more you get.”
What a simple, but profound statement.
“I know people who have a lot of money, and they get testimonial dinners and they get hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster.”
He said more.
“Basically, when you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you.”
I’ve never met the guy, most likely never will. But wouldn’t it be fascinating to sit down and have a beer with someone who has more money than anyone and yet understands what life is really about?
Guess I got away from the traditional New Year’s Day ramblings. My apologies. This whole love theme sticks out though and I’m having trouble letting it go. Maybe it’s because in the last couple of years we’ve become grandparents? (Three so far with another on the way.) Maybe it’s because my babies (the ones having their own babies now) have grown into mature women who have made me so very proud? Maybe it’s because my best buddy, the woman who married me going on 40 years ago, has stuck by this newspaper vagabond’s side through thick and thin – even as I struggle to get back to the thin I used to be?
And maybe it’s because of you?
How’s that?
The thing is, this newspaper and this company is part of me. It was a vision and a plan from more than two decades ago. It’s something I’ve put every penny I have (and then some) into. Blood, sweat and tears? You bet – drop after drop after drop.
Does it mean more to me than the family? Absolutely not. But it’s important. Way important. And it would have crashed and burned a long time ago if not for you.
You, our current employees. You, the ones who used to work here. You, the vendors and businesses who have worked with us, helped us. You, the supporters who have helped every step of the way.
You, more than anyone else, have kept this company, this vision, alive. The concept of a community newspaper that truly cares about the community is alive and kicking today because of you. We have given back well more than $1 million in ads, money and time to local charities – not because it was a business model, but because it’s what we believe – all the while enduring outrageous and downright silly claims that have assaulted our practices, our model and even our character and beliefs.
Warren Buffett says the true measure of success is by who loves you. Thanks to so very many of you for what you have given us – and allowing us to give ourselves back to you as well. It’s another New Year. The gratitude is all ours!
Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Tuesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at ttimmons@thepaper24-7.com.