The dawn of a new year always makes me think about what I would do if I could do anything I wanted for a year. What would I do if it was my last year on earth? What would I put on my bucket list? Or instead, what if the new year was the beginning of a new and long life, one unfettered by the past? What would I do? Hmmm seems like both lists are the same. So in honor of that thought, here’s what I will do in 2014.
I’ll give up my house and my car and live like a computer-toting, wild-writing gypsy.
I’ll travel everywhere. And I’ll fall in love every day. I’ll fall in love with carnival-like people who wear strange-colored clothing and tell the most surprising tales. I’ll fall in love with fantasy-inspiring places, from blue green mountains to gray and decrepit city blocks. I’ll fall in love with mind-expanding ideas whispered to me by mysterious, coffee drinking geniuses and I’ll fall in love with the simplest of experiences. Maybe a flower growing from the crack in a city sidewalk or a woman singing as she bakes bread in a flour-dusted bakery. At night, I’ll dance in the protective blanket of the dark. Then in the thin light of early morning, I’ll set the dawn-gold lion of my imagination free from his cage and write.
To travel and write is to fall in love with the world.
I’ll sit in cafes and at bus stops and listen to fascinating people. Everyone has a good story to tell. I’ll be patient, coaxing and encouraging until people give up their stories, their histories and their secrets. I’ll let the scents, tastes, sounds and colors of the past wash over me through their words until I feel that I’m really living their history. Then I’ll write everything down, but not their secrets. In this way, I’m a bad journalist; I keep people’s secrets.
I’ll watch plays in London and New York. I’ll go to Italy and eat, go to Russia and drink, go to Japan and eat and drink. I’ll visit all of my friend’s houses around the world and surprise them by coming in their front door and saying, “I have missed you so much.” We’ll laugh and cry and talk for days. Then I’ll be off again.
I’ll look at art everywhere: Amsterdam, Rome, Paris, London. I’ll feed orphans in India and dream about hobbits in New Zealand. I’ll go to the opera in Milan. I’ll find the fun in every place and find what is meaningful.
I’ll dance everywhere. And learn languages. And study painting. I’ll paint pictures and give them away to people who have hidden beauty inside of them.
I’ll help strangers anonymously by leaving them money in tiny Japanese gift envelopes. The less money I spend on myself, the more I can help others. I’ll see people reading my books on subways and trains but they won’t know I’m the author of the book they are reading. I’ll watch their faces for signs of emotion, rejoicing when they laugh and when they cry.
I’ll go to a church I’ve never been to and sit in the back or sing in the choir. It doesn’t matter what the religion is; the voices will be heavenly.
With the true heart of a gypsy, I’ll see the world as it really is and fall in love with it. Then I’ll set the dawn-gold lion of my imagination free from his cage once more….
… and write.