Today is New Year’s Eve, and soon, the first day of the new year will be upon us.
Someone sent me a message today which said – “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.” It is a nice message, reminding us that the future is never written for us in advance, and we can always have a hand in what unfolds as we walk down the path of life.
However, as I read the message, I remembered that it is not a book that we are beginning tomorrow, but just the next chapter of the book – because the book we write does not consist of 365 days, but of the entire span of our life. We are the lives we lead, and in the end, all of us become stories that are told by people to people – all those who come after us. So, as we step into a new year tomorrow, let’s remember that we begin a new chapter. That new chapter will be connected to whatever went before and will give rise to newer chapters in the future. So, let’s handle it well, and make it a good one.
What makes a good chapter, though? If we have read great stories, we know that they come in so many different shades of life. Great stories are not always happy stories, nor are they bright and sparkly success stories all the time. Great stories are spiced with both laughter and tears, because there can be no rainbow without both the rain and the sun.
It will not always be pleasant, as we face the days ahead of us. A new year will not, of course, make all the problems and difficulties of life disappear. Sometimes you taste victory, getting what you wanted, bringing joy to yourself and people that you love. Sometimes you falter and fall short. Sometimes you are unhappy. Sometimes you are denied what you think you deserve, and you are angry. Sometimes you are named to be the loser in a game that you are sure you were winning. Sometimes you work hard hoping for success, and yet as the day closes, are served with failure. Sometimes you find yourself running after things that you love, whereas things that love you are running after you at the same time. Sometimes you find yourself hurt, afraid or in pain; and you do not always find the strength or the support you need to make it through the day smiling. It is not always a winning game we play in life, and that is fine. That is what Life is – a mixed plate of fruits bitter and sweet. What is truly vital is to keep playing gracefully, because that is what counts.
We cannot entirely define your own fortune in life. It is not like a game of chess where everything is ordered and calculable. The book is not filled with blank pages at all, it is rather filled with incomplete paragraphs full of gaps and holes, – gaps that we will be filling up with our pens. Half the story will depend on me, and the other half will be decided by the rest of the world – in or against my favour. The future will always take me by surprise. Instead of fearing this uncertainty, I want to enjoy it. I want to remember that in this book we are writing, every single paragraph need not be a success story. We will win some, we will lose some – that’s how it goes. The trick is to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat.
So go ahead and write a good story. Frolick in the rain, and revel in the sun. Believe in love and compassion, and practice it in your life. Explore new things, hold on to the old. Keep learning from everything that you come across, but don’t forget to enjoy them as well. Chase beauty, not success – because what is beautiful often depends on the beholder, whereas a person’s success is often defined by other people. Make yourself into a more beautiful person, and in doing so, make the world a better place.