As 2016 draws to a close, I have been taking the time to reflect back upon the past year. It seems to me each year flashes by just a little more swiftly. I am often despondent during the lull following December 25th and January 1st. The rush of holiday parties is over and gifts lay scattered under the tree, amongst the remnants of wrapping paper and ribbons. I am held hostage in that space of wanting to hang on to the past and yet eager to move forward and embrace a new year and new possibilities. It makes me restless to think another year has passed. I am another year older, and yet, there are so many things still to do, places I want to travel to and people I want to meet. It seems I didn’t get everything done on my lengthy wish list.
But, then I pause and take a deep breath. I call to my dogs, and we head out for a walk to enjoy the golden glow of a late California winter afternoon. At the top of our hill I stop. Despite the dogs tugging on their leashes I turn around in a full circle. I observe the stuccoed houses, the hikers passing by me on their way to climb the peak. I look up at the Eucalyptus trees, their lofty branches create intricate patterns in the sky, and their multi-colored trunks make me think of abstract paintings. I drink everything in, the big and the small details. Then I return home. Seated at my computer I open up my photo file and begin flipping through all the images I’ve taken since last January 1st. And it hits me. What an incredible year it has been, filled with love and extraordinary accomplishments.
But somehow in the flow of days, I had conveniently filed away in the back of my brain and almost forgotten special little moments — wine tasting with girlfriends, a picture my aspiring photographer son had taken, a surprise birthday party and a wedding. The photos also make me recall the magical moments I spent in Italy this past year. Each image reveals smiling faces and reunions with friends, fantastic architecture, and breathtaking vistas. What a cathartic experience to sift through all the pictures of time spent split between California and Italy and view the year with new fresh eyes.
Many will say that 2016 was a terrible year. A dismal year. They can’t wait to put it behind them. But, I believe a year is what you make of it. How you handle disappointments, setbacks, and stressful situations are the tests of one’s character. I think that despite a few delusions if you look closely you will see a lot of good existed in 2016.
Looking back now, for me personally, 2016 held many high points. I have the perspective of a whole year to take another breath and realize that yes, 2016 was indeed an incredible year. I published a book! I met Sophia Loren in person! I kissed her on both of her cheeks and chatted with her in Italian. Not only that, but I have three bright young sons who are turning into successful adults. Okay, the path isn’t always easy with kids. As a parent, one always worries. And I have a husband, who after thirty-two years of marriage still puts up with my creative highs and lows and all my various moods and keeps coming back despite my daily admonitions: “don’t disturb me now…can’t you see I’m writing!”
So take a long look around you. Appreciate the many small miracles and moments of 2016. Appreciate the people who populate your world — real, imagined and virtual! Then close your eyes and envision what you will do in 2017! Dream big everyone! We have only one life to live and like my Sophias (the real woman and the character I have created) my two “dreaming Sophias” make every moment count. When life knocks them down, they always find a way to get back up and make their dreams a reality! Be like Sophia!
Just one more thing…I just popped the cork on a lovely bottle of prosecco but before I take a sip, I want to thank those who have read Dreaming Sophia. I want you all to know that I very appreciate the comments you have left on Amazon and Goodreads. They warm my heart. My fictional character Sophia is very dear to me. Her journey in many ways is a reflection of my own, so it pleases me that people are enjoying her story and the message of hope that things are possible if you “sognare ad occhi aperti” – dream with your eyes open.
Happy New Year everyone! Cin Cin!