I try to surmise what I’ve learned over the past year, what I could possibly change this year, and how life can improve. Books are where I live and for me, that’s how I learn most of my lessons. Sometimes the written word brings me so close to its author that I feel a deep connection. One such author is Gabriel Garcia Marques. This began when he said, “One ages more and with more intensity in pictures than in reality.” Up to that point, I thought such matters only concerned women, especially those who cared about their looks. But he is a man and I was touched that he understood what it feels like to look at today’s pictures through the eyes of decades ago. So it wasn’t only me, was it?
Last year brought me days when I wasn’t feeling so great, but it also came with fantastic moments when I had all my kids around. When I say, “We had the greatest time,” Gabriel is perhaps the only one who doesn’t think I’m crazy. “What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember, and how you remember it.”
Then again, the year was filled with many Maya Angelou moments. “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Working hard at my craft, I isolate myself to write, disregarding all obstacles, forgiving my past errors. At first, the energy and the will to go on came from my readers, but when I started to criticize myself, Maya came to my rescue. “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” And when people ask why I work so hard, or what am I hoping to accomplish, I think of her. “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
2014 was a year of dances, too. I danced around yet another new ailment and brought it to its knees. I danced around a missed deadline for my next book, and rather than call it a “miss,” I rejoyced in finding a whole new beginning. When the genre turned too heavy, too tragic to go through, I alternated dance steps and skipped that slow pace for the hop and skip of a happy memoir. I also danced – literally – with friends and as I combined that with a healthy eating regiment, together we finally won the “battle of the bulges.”
And so it was that an entirely enjoyable year went by while I overcame what could have remained sorrows. A twirling dervish knows the power of dance and how it can help him rise above the worldly desolations. Maya knew more. “Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.” But Marquez went even further and assured me that, “No matter what, nobody can take away the dances you’ve already had.”
So throughout the year to come, I hope to write, and I’ll keep my nose buried in books, and know that the year is in fact not going to be different from all others. It’ll be a year of bad news and more fear transmistted through the media, a year of beauty in nature as well as some beauty that will fade, a year of need as well as a chance to help the needy. There will be marriages and divorces, new babies and deaths. There will be sunshine and humming birds, then again, we’ll see rainy days and the crows. And in the end, we’ll look back and say, “It was a year of losses, and a few gains.”
Each year is exciting in its own way and it’s only exciting because we make it so. With such clear understanding of the year to come, I will try to have no regrets for the past, no high hopes for a future, and know that life can only be good if I absorb the present.
Maybe I will never learn. After all, Zoe means life. I AM Zoe, and in the words of Marquez, “NOBODY TEACHES LIFE ANYTHING!”