One of my favorite words is resilience. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines resilience as “the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.” In this life we live, no one is exempt from bad things happening to us such as losing our job, suffering a car accident, an illness, breakup or divorce, and the death of a loved one. Some consider these events as a matter of probability, others as divine intervention that is part of a larger plan that we cannot see. But regardless of what your beliefs are, we can agree that to enjoy this life to the fullest, we must learn to be resilient.

Whether written in the stars when we were born or created as a byproduct of our daily decisions, we have to endure the blows of fate. But to become stronger after a reversal of luck, we need to have the right mindset that allows us to learn and adapt to the situation. The philosopher Epictetus used to say “it is not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters,” and this perspective is key to understanding the Stoic concept of “amor fati” in Latin, and in Spanish “love of destiny” or “love of one's own destiny,” which is used to describe an attitude toward life in which one sees everything that happens, including suffering or loss, good or bad, as something necessary. This “need” is not perceived by Stoics from a self-destructive perspective, but from the recognition that cruel events are an intrinsic part of our lives. The intention of this practice is to take our mind away from suffering and focus on strengthening character.

Enduring difficulties is one of the silent battles we all fight daily. Yet we rarely stop along the way of our busy lives to look at the people around us with empathetic eyes and acknowledge their silent battles.

Whenever I spoke to my parents or grandparents, I marveled at all the stories of hardships they had endured during their lives, and although severe, the scars of their wounds were not visible in their façade of equanimity granted by maturity, unless one will get very close. Only such stories could reveal the real person behind the skin thickened by time to resist the whims of fate. Like putting together a puzzle, those anecdotes helped me create a more vivid picture of what my ancestors' lives were like before my time.

And in all those stories of my relatives, there was always one constant. Your resilience.

For this reason, resilience is not just the title, but the theme of my next novel, Vandella: Resilience, the sequel (and prequel in a way) to my debut novel, Vandella. In the manuscript, I attempt to explore the idea of resilience as a means of coping with a seemingly inevitable fate perceived by the characters.

Personally, resilience is also the skill I need to adopt as a writer. Even though publishing a book may seem like an end in itself, the truth is that publishing is only a small part of everything an author needs to do to increase their readership. Despite any setbacks experienced, I need to return with a rejuvenated excitement for writing, just as I did when I began this journey. I have already glimpsed a series with several books, and that requires me to be resilient and endure any incoming difficulties to be able to tell the complete story of Maia (the main character of my novel). The good news is that I have already completed the first draft of Vandella: Resilience, and now I am working on editing the second draft with the goal of publishing the novel in 2022.

And in the meantime, for this new year looming on the horizon, I would like to encourage you to be more resilient and embrace any whim of fate as if it were fuel to fuel our character. And remember that we cannot change reality, but rather how we perceive it. In the wise words of Marcus Aurelius:

“It is unfortunate that this happened to me. No. It's lucky that this happened to me and I wasn't hurt, broken by the present or scared by the future. It could have happened to anyone. But not everyone could have been left unscathed by it.”

All the best,

M. Ch. Landa

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