Has Unhappiness Become a Cultural Universal?

If so, how did we get to where we are today?

What Were Are Dreams?

As children we dreamed of:

  • Becoming an astronaut and going to the Moon. Or perhaps Mars!
  • Becoming a fireman, fighting fires and saving lives. And, once in a while pulling a cat out of a tree.
  • Becoming a policeman and helping others. Because we were told that that’s what policemen do…help others in need.
  • Becoming a doctor or a nurse and helping others. By becoming a pediatrician we would be able to help children…others like ourselves.
  • Becoming a teacher and working with children. Once again, because we wanted to help others… in this case, to learn.

Where are you today?

  • Did you follow through and become an astronaut? If so, can I please have your autograph?
  • How about a fireman or a police officer?
  • Perhaps you’re a doctor? Working with children in the Third World somewhere? And maybe for Doctors without Borders or the World Health Organization?
  • Maybe you went to college and now you’re teaching kindergarten on a Native American Reservation, in Appalachia, or the inner city?

Where are your dreams today?

  • Did you hold onto them?
  • Do you remember them?
  • Are you willing to admit that you still remember them? Because admitting you remember your dreams might lead you to ask the next, much more difficult question:
  • Why not?

And finally, what are your dreams today?

In fact, let’s take it a step farther and ask this question:

  • Do you dream at all?

Obviously, the above-mentioned questions can only be answered by you, and only after a great deal of contemplation and soul searching.

Unless, of course, you are one of the fortunate few, the twenty percent who are happy, the twenty percent who have followed their dreams…and/or continue to follow their dreams!

Are you one of the 80%?

Or are you part of the 20%?

I have embedded two videos because they are interesting, and because they get to the heart of the matter quickly and interestingly. At least I think so. I hope you do too!

Please let me know what you think!

And, perhaps, where you are today in terms of the whole 80/20* thing.

Here are the two videos:

How to Know Your Life Purpose in 5 Minutes: Adam Leipzig at TEDxMalibu

How to find and do work you love: Scott Dinsmore at TEDxGoldenGatePark (2D)

John Zajaros
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

*Note: Not to be confused with the 80/20 Principle – although the relationship (and the coincidence – if coincidence exists) is suggestive.


Kailyn Christine and Brynn Elizabeth Purdy – The Z Girls: Part II

August 1, 2013 

Kailyn and Brynn - The Z Girls Part II

The Best Day Ever!

Yesterday morning I walked 8.27 miles, half of it with TuffGuy…it was a gorgeous morning and my walking buddy and I took full advantage.

In the afternoon, Brynnie, Kailyn, and I curled up on their bed and continued our reading of Charlotte’s Web while Nana went to the store and Allie went off to work. Kailyn and Brynnie listened as Wilbur watched Templeton work his way over to his trough, still full of slops, and Lurvy told Mr. Zuckerman that there was something wrong with Wilbur.

Then, we had steak on the grill and Sweet’s sweet corn-on-the-cob for dinner. Emmy and Connie took the girls to Dairy Queeen for dessert…ice cream sundaes. They brought home the usual for me: an extra-large raspberry milkshake.

Okay, okay! Once in a while I go for blueberry…just to spice things up a bit!

We finished off the day by “camping out” in the living room. Brynn, Kailyn, Nana, and I…and of course TuffGuy and Bart…curled up on the sectional and watched Chasing Mavericks and Edward Scissorhands. The girls loved Edward Scissorhands, no big surprise there. And they really got into Chasing Mavericks!

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Allie came home from work during Edward Scissorhands and saw what we were doing.

Then, Allie smiled and winked at me. She told Kailyn that she was sitting in her, Allie’s, spot. Allie’s spot was always curled up next to me and either reading a book or watching late night TV…usually a scary movie!

Well, Kailyn immediately curled even closer; and Brynn, already on my lap and not to be outdone, snuggled even closer too!

It was as if they were saying, “This is my spot now!” 

It was a good thing, a precious moment; and Allie, knowing the full-value of moments just like that one, smiled, grabbed her dinner, and went to bed…tired but smiling.

It was a very good day.

A simple day.

A day filled with smiles and laughter and hugs…and love!

It was the best day so far…the best day ever!

Every day is the best day now…although we miss our son, our brother, and our uncle very much.

We’ve come so far and I am, we are, so very grateful just to be here!

We lost everything.

Everything, that is, except the two things that matter most:

Our lives and each other.

And that’s enough…because they are the only things permanent.

It was a very good day…the best day ever!



Memories, Mom, and Dying Far Too Young

by John Zajaros on July 31, 2013

Memories of Mom, Ralph, and Mark

I was looking at a picture of family members and that got me thinking about my mom. Mom got me through the toughest times and, while we certainly had our differences as I was growing up, I always considered her my very best friend…all 5ft 2in of her!

I remember getting in trouble for something, I can’t remember what and I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 at the time. Well, I remember trying to outrun her. I can’t tell you why, all I know is I got it in my head that, if she couldn’t catch me, she wouldn’t be able to punish me!

Big mistake!

I didn’t have a prayer. But she didn’t punish me. Sure, she caught me, it wasn’t even a contest. But I caught her smiling and, in an instant, we were both laughing and smiling.

That smile! That laugh!

My mother had a rough life in spite of growing up wealthy. She told me once that she always felt discarded…forgotten. Mom died in the middle of the night. She was far too young.

I miss the person she was every day! 

Margaret Victoria Foerstner (nee Wilson), Peggy to her family and friends, was born September 21, 1935 and died November 4, 2007. She was just 72 at the time of her death. Before she died, she was able to meet her first great-grandchild, Kailyn Christine (see my Facebook profile picture). In that very precious moment, I saw the families merge through four generations…and she was smiling!

Cause of death: Smoking!

Smoking, such a waste!

I watched my father-in-law, Ralph Earl Clark, die at 54, four years younger than I am as of this writing and just retired from the Ford Motor Company. Ralph had the best years of his life still before him. He would have loved watching his grandkids grow up, he was a sweet man and I loved him. Watching him take his last breath was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

My little brother, Mark Stephen Zajaros, died at the age of 43. In every sense, Mark was the perfect kid brother!

They all died the same way…gasping for air, fighting for their last breath…a horrible way to go!

Today, I watch family members smoke and it’s like a knife through my heart…an insult to life and such a foolish habit. A waste of life!

For what?

How many more years would they have had?



Did the Doctor’s Go Too Far?

Because “she learned she carried the gene that makes it extremely likely!”?

What do you think?

I don’t know whether to applaud or cry, and for myriad reasons!

I cannot suppose to know what Ms. Angelina Jolie was thinking or feeling, and her concern for her children is laudable, especially when viewed in light of her mother’s death as a result of breast cancer.

That being said, I am afraid of the slippery slope we are now heading down with respect to genetic testing. No, not as it pertains to one, high-profile case. I’m talking about placing genetics, or any other science, in the place of absolute arbiter of truth!

Sadly, very few genetic scientists would use “extremely” and “likely” in the same sentence; and, fewer still, when dealing with, and possibly irrevocably influencing, such a profound decision.

Irrevocably influencing, and thus affecting, irrevocable change!

We can only wish Ms. Jolie, or anyone else embarking on such a drastic, proactive treatment path well; and, hope that in the future, such decisions are left out of the press and away from the public eye. I would also hope that doctors and scientists will take a very long pause before suggesting that anyone is both extremely and likely to suffer any sort of illness based solely on genetic testing.

Point of fact:

I could fill up page after page after page with examples from medical journals, examples of children born normal after doctors and geneticists (often one-in-the-same) stated as fact (extremely likely) that a child would be born with a certain affliction…only to be born perfectly healthy!

Had the parents listened to the doctors and geneticists who claimed that it was both “extremely” and “likely”….

My point is this:

  • Genetics is not yet an exact science…at least in the above-mentioned context.

In fact, as it pertains to science, generally…science is anything but:

  • Exact?
  • Extremely likely?
  • Certainty?

We still have a very long way to go. 

I wish Ms. Jolie and her family all the best going forward.

As I stated early on: 

I don’t know whether to applaud or cry, and for myriad reasons!


At What Cost? The “Review of 50 Brooklyn Murder Cases Ordered”!

by John Zajaros David Ranta

Tweet  Still think the death penalty is a good idea? What if…just, what if…one man or woman is innocent? At what cost do we find justice? If one innocent man or woman is put to death because of a bad cop or a miscarriage of justice or a bad attorney or for any other reason? […]

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