Now Christmas is before us and the end of the year is nigh, I want to express my gratitude to all of you in our bookish world for connecting, for your friendship and inspiration, for being there. I have read and reviewed many wonderful (new) books, have found new authors to read and to connect with but foremost, I must extend an apology to those authors, whose books have not been reviewed yet although they have been on my list for quite some time. I realise I have let you down. I can only tell you I am sorry – your books are on my list and will be read.
Life has a way of interfering with blogging – both in a positive and in a negative way. This year, I lost my mother after a sickbed. I am grateful for being with her in her last weeks, to comfort her. She did not die alone and is at peace now. Moreover, I am thankful that the relationship between my siblings and myself has become stronger. There were more difficulties and sad moments but also enough to be thankful for, not in the least my three children who as adults are finding their place in life and who, I am very proud to say, each in their own way, have chosen to follow a path in which they contribute with what they do and who they are to our society.
This year has been one of turbulence. A year in which I came to realise many things. A year in which I understood that I have to let go of fears and beliefs holding me back. When you, for as long as you can remember, have your behaviour and your words questioned and judged, you don’t need anyone else to do it anymore – you do it yourself. A lesson I learned only the other day. Crazy, isn’t it? I could blame myself for still doing it aged 53, despite knowing where it comes from. But hey, that would prove I have not moved forward, right?! I do not want to apologise anymore. For who I am. For who I want to be. For being happy and enjoying life. For expressing my feelings and beliefs, my love.
If you scroll down a bit, you see me talking about being fearless – about following your dreams and your passions. It also means not being afraid to show others the real you – unapologetically. Acceptance of who you are is the first step to others accepting you. I have learned a lot this year, I feel different. I feel.. liberated. I will still say and do the wrong things – never said I’d be perfect! Life has a funny way of making you conscious of what is important. I have got so much more to learn but I am excited and passionate about where my life is going.
Because also, this year opened up new chances: I started to organise blog tours, to advice and provide services to authors and I discovered this is my passion, this is what I love to do. I am not there yet – not by far but I am determined to move ahead. No more fear of failure, just going to do my best! Do my thing. Something I want to share with everyone. Just say what you want, where you want to be. If you dare not voice your dreams how will you find the courage, motivation and determination to follow them? When people do not have an inkling of your dreams, how will they be able to be supportive? Perhaps you will miss chances because of your fear to be open.
It is scary at first yes, and you may feel exposed or vulnerable but I would never have dreamed that taking a deep breath and saying ‘this is who I am, this is what I want to do and what I will give it my all’ resulted in people being supportive and encouraging. It is truly amazing and something to be thankful for. Thank you. For taking my dream serious, for offering help and advice. For being there.
What I have seen in this past year, is that blogging is sometimes wrongly perceived by those outside of our bookish world. We bloggers are readers. We love to read. We devour books. We love to shout out about ‘our’ books. Yes, we do. And yes, we will keep on doing that. The one thing we do not do is shout out about our negative experiences – the books we did not finish or that we found lacking. For me, therein lies the gap between readers and blogging readers. I feel that we bloggers should not hesitate to share how and why we blog with others. Not to apologise for what we do. But to tell everyone that our love for books is THE most important thing and because of that, we shout about the books we love and whisper about those we do not.
The society we live in today is reigned by the power of influence and money. By having more and wanting even more. Power. Riches. Somehow along the way we have forgotten that governments’ budgets are not household budgets. All governments’ first priority should not be ‘how to straighten the balances’ but ‘how to perceive society as a whole; what is best for its citizens?’ What kind of society do we want to live in – would we prefer for our children?
Our world today is more divided than ever and our ideal of peace on earth seems further and further away. We know what happened in the past – we can and should learn from history. But we do not. We antagonise instead of agreeing. We set up boundaries instead of tearing down walls. How on earth can we say that ‘things are well’ in a country that has food banks? Where people live on the streets and are dependent on charity? Should not a society be judged by how it treats those, that cannot speak up for themselves? Should not a society include each and everyone?
My wish for you is to have a truly wonderful Christmas, to enjoy being with your loved ones and to be thankful for what you have. To share a little bit of that with those who are alone and who dread the Christmas days. May 2018 bring you peace and may the goodwill we so willingly share each Christmas, last at least a year long. May we all never forget what is really important – and may we cherish the moments of joy, laughter and happiness. May your dreams come true.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!