This is the last of my 54 posts while I’m 54. Keeping to “All Things Mexico” this year has been a stretch for me. I agonized over what was left to tell, sorry so many of my stories about Mexico had already come out of me the year before when I was 53. Or I shook my head at how the words I cobbled together here so often fell short of capturing the heart of the memory. But still you, my readers, came to visit, told me you liked what I was writing, cheered me on in spite of my own dissatisfaction and my often too harsh critic. I can’t thank you enough for that kindness, that generosity of spirit. And though I have not always liked what I came up with here, there were times I laughed at myself as I was the first to “like” one of my own posts. Do people do that?!!? I wondered even as I clicked on the “Like” button. But there are at least a handful here I was pleased with enough to choose, silly though it may have been. It made me happy.
And as I contemplate my next year of posts, the 55 I plan to write while I’m 55, I think I will again leave the “theme” wide open. I seem to be a funny creature in that I crave a theme, a focus, and then I rebel against the constrictions of one even when it’s self-imposed. Perhaps I will continue as I’ve begun, alternating “wide open” years with years that are more structured. I think of writing a year of posts about all the days or moments I’d like to relive. Or a year of sleeping dreams with thoughts about how they might weave into my daily life. I imagine writing each of the year’s posts about a different being or character, blending fiction and fact. And as I write these possibilities even more leap into my mind, and the part of me that longs for structure becomes eager to try my hand at one of them. But I think for now I will allow this next year of posts to unfold as they will, wander where they might, grow like weeds, like thistles, airy tufts tossed by the breeze to land where they may. And in the time between becoming 55 and turning 56, I’ll let some part of me dream about what kind of shape I might want to commit to for my 56 posts while I’m 56.
So, as I end this year of posts, I breathe a sigh of relief at the thought of the unconstrained year that now awaits. But I know, too, that in my ornery way, I may flounder in that unstructured space, adrift with no idea what to write about. It makes me grin, this odd determination to be confounded either way. And, too, I am not at all sorry I tried to write about Mexico this past year, no matter what my efforts brought. I imagine I’ll continue to write about Mexico, to even try again to tell my stories as the years unfold. I hope to go back to Mexico, again and again, to travel or to live, to dig in and unearth the soil of that country with my wriggling toes, that new stories might spring from that rich and fertile land for me to tell. And I hope even these imperfect posts might serve as my own ode to memory. I think of my first whale, sitting on the edge of that Todos Santos beach while she hovered nearby in the depths just off the shore. I recall my magic wandering of the steep stairways, the callejones of Guanajuato, or my first breathtaking view of that hillside city, the painted buildings a wonder, the most beautiful ciudad I have ever seen. I remember Ana standing across the living room from me at the Aldama house, laughing, or the night she and Rodolfo walked me home along the cobblestone streets while I sang in French, and the night I followed that same path alone, crying like my heart was breaking. I hope my year of posts might serve to honor my memories, my own ode to Mexico.