New Year’s Revolution

Today, before each of us, an empty calendar lies open, a tabula rasae on which we compose our lives.  After a moment of reflection of the past 12 months, it is time to look forward to 2017 and perhaps set some personal goals.

Inspiration for my 2017 goals comes from Margaret Bolsterli,  an 85 year-old retired professor I met in October 2011 during my stay at the Writer’s Colony in Arkansas.

At the colony, each evening, the writers met for dinner.  Each night after the others had retired to their rooms, Margaret would tell me a story.  She knew nothing of my life and yet each tale went directly to the heart of things.  I became King Shahriar mesmerized by the tales of the Princess Sheherazade in Arabian Nights.

Margaret wove compelling tales. During my stay, I read Born in the Delta: Reflections on the Making of a Southern White Sensibility, in which she describes growing up in the Arkansas Delta during the 30s and 40s and how she unflinchingly confronted racial conflicts, violence, the Confederacy, and her own family secrets.

Margaret taught Women’s Studies at the University of Arkansas for 25 years, educating not just individuals but families.  A woman or man would take her class and send their sisters who would recommend the course to their aunt or mother.  Generations of students received inspiration from Professor Bolsterli.

One evening, she told me of her interview with 94 year-old Lily Peter, a tale quite appropriate for this time of year . . . of revolutions and resolutions. Margaret was 57 at the time.

In the interview, Lily described life at the turn of the century outside Marvell, Arkansas, of attending college and becoming a teacher.  She dreamt of leaving home but her father died and she remained at home and put her brother and sisters through college.

During the Depression, the siblings worked, pooling their monies to buy land and a cotton gin. For 30 years, Brother ginned cotton on the family’s two plantations while the sisters taught school.  Upon Brother’s death, however, Lily, now 60, discovered that the family was in serious financial trouble.  She again took the bull by the horn and announced to her sisters that she would devote the next 30 years to making the business solvent.

Would you like to hear, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story”?  At age of 94, Lily retired to devote herself to writing poetry and became Arkansas’ Poet Laureate.  At 98, she decided to get her Ph.D. and called Margaret.

Margaret arranged everything: a residence, a wheel-chair ramp, classes in one building.  Everything was set until Sara’s physician forbade her to go.  Shortly after, Sara died.

Margaret ruefully noted that “Lily, at 94, had the mind of a 35 year old.  She attributed her elasticity of mind to having changed her life completely three times–from teacher to planter to dedicated writer.  She said that every big life change forced her to learn new systems and so rejuvenated her.”

Margaret walked into her department and looked around. Here were the same people she had worked with for 25 years, the same walls, same office.

Like Lily, she decided a career change was in order:  “I think I’ll try my hand at cattle ranching.” She bought a farm.  Soon after, she retired, and began raising cattle and riding horses.  She did that for 20 years before moving on to her next adventure.

Are you considering a new adventure in 2017?  Perhaps taking a turn at farming, going back to school, learning a new sport, hiking and camping in the great outdoors,Learning about Spanish cuisine or how to grill, making Caswell County a better place to live?

No matter what your age, just do it.  Lily wouldn’t hesitate (and neither would Margaret).

Margaret Bolsterli

Margaret Bolsterli

Bookmark the permalink.


  1. I really wanted to jot down a small message in order to appreciate you for these fantastic tactics you are giving out on this site. My incredibly long internet look up has at the end of the day been rewarded with wonderful ideas to write about with my company. I ‘d suppose that we website visitors are extremely fortunate to be in a fabulous place with so many wonderful people with beneficial basics. I feel very much blessed to have come across your web site and look forward to tons of more enjoyable minutes reading here. Thank you again for all the details.

  2. I am writing to make you know what a really good experience my friend’s girl encountered going through yuor web blog. She even learned a good number of pieces, not to mention what it is like to possess a wonderful teaching mood to let most people very easily know precisely a number of extremely tough subject areas. You undoubtedly surpassed people’s desires. Many thanks for imparting these great, healthy, revealing and easy guidance on the topic to Jane.

  3. I in addition to my buddies happened to be reading the excellent tips and tricks on your web blog and then suddenly got a horrible feeling I never thanked the website owner for them. My boys are already for that reason glad to read through all of them and have undoubtedly been taking advantage of those things. I appreciate you for getting indeed thoughtful and for making a choice on varieties of helpful guides most people are really desirous to discover. Our own honest regret for not expressing gratitude to you earlier.

  4. I must point out my appreciation for your kind-heartedness for people who actually need help with this important situation. Your very own commitment to passing the message around had been quite informative and has frequently helped folks like me to reach their endeavors. Your personal warm and friendly instruction indicates so much a person like me and extremely more to my colleagues. Thank you; from each one of us.

  5. A lot of thanks for your own effort on this blog. My mom really likes setting aside time for investigation and it’s really simple to grasp why. Many of us learn all regarding the powerful medium you offer informative strategies through your web blog and even cause response from others on this theme so my girl has been starting to learn a great deal. Have fun with the rest of the year. You are conducting a good job.

  6. I simply wanted to write a small comment to appreciate you for those magnificent techniques you are writing at this website. My considerable internet lookup has now been compensated with reputable concept to exchange with my company. I would mention that many of us website visitors are undeniably blessed to live in a very good site with very many outstanding individuals with very beneficial solutions. I feel rather lucky to have used the webpages and look forward to many more awesome times reading here. Thanks a lot once more for everything.

  7. My spouse and i have been quite glad when Raymond managed to finish up his preliminary research through the ideas he came across out of your web pages. It is now and again perplexing to simply continually be giving freely helpful hints people today could have been making money from. We understand we have the writer to thank for that. Most of the explanations you have made, the easy site navigation, the relationships your site make it possible to create – it’s got most great, and it’s leading our son in addition to us imagine that the topic is satisfying, and that’s truly fundamental. Many thanks for all the pieces!

  8. Thanks a lot for providing individuals with remarkably spectacular opportunity to read articles and blog posts from this web site. It’s always very useful and as well , full of amusement for me personally and my office peers to visit your web site at the very least 3 times every week to read through the fresh stuff you will have. Of course, I am also actually satisfied concerning the unbelievable suggestions served by you. Some two areas in this posting are indeed the finest we’ve had.

  9. I am only writing to let you know what a remarkable encounter my girl had viewing your web site. She mastered such a lot of issues, with the inclusion of what it is like to have an excellent teaching nature to have men and women just know a number of extremely tough issues. You undoubtedly surpassed our desires. I appreciate you for providing these powerful, healthy, revealing not to mention unique tips on that topic to Janet.

  10. Thank you for every one of your labor on this website. My mother takes pleasure in managing investigations and it’s really simple to grasp why. We all learn all relating to the compelling ways you give helpful information on the web site and as well cause contribution from some other people on this situation so our own princess has been understanding a lot of things. Enjoy the rest of the year. Your doing a first class job.

  11. I intended to send you a bit of word to help thank you very much over again for the nice pointers you have documented in this article. This has been really tremendously open-handed with people like you to give unreservedly precisely what a number of people could have sold for an electronic book to generate some profit for their own end, chiefly seeing that you could possibly have done it in the event you desired. These tactics in addition worked as the easy way to realize that other individuals have the same passion similar to my very own to see more with respect to this condition. I believe there are some more pleasurable times ahead for individuals that looked over your site.

  12. I really wanted to make a comment in order to say thanks to you for all of the stunning recommendations you are placing at this site. My extensive internet lookup has now been honored with good facts and techniques to write about with my contacts. I ‘d assert that we readers are unequivocally blessed to live in a fantastic website with so many awesome people with useful concepts. I feel quite privileged to have come across your webpage and look forward to many more awesome times reading here. Thank you again for all the details.

  13. I truly wanted to make a quick note to express gratitude to you for these fabulous ways you are posting here. My rather long internet search has now been rewarded with awesome know-how to talk about with my guests. I would believe that many of us site visitors actually are undoubtedly endowed to exist in a superb website with very many brilliant professionals with useful methods. I feel very grateful to have discovered your entire web site and look forward to really more enjoyable times reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.

  14. I precisely wanted to thank you so much again. I am not sure the things I could possibly have tried without the type of pointers documented by you on such a subject matter. It was an absolute difficult crisis for me, however , being able to view your skilled mode you handled it forced me to weep with happiness. I am just happier for your guidance and even pray you comprehend what a great job that you are doing teaching the rest thru a blog. I’m certain you’ve never encountered all of us.

  15. I and my friends were found to be reading the best advice located on the website then immediately I had a horrible feeling I never thanked you for them. The guys became consequently very interested to see them and have now honestly been using them. I appreciate you for really being really kind and for settling on some amazing subjects most people are really needing to be informed on. Our sincere regret for not expressing appreciation to sooner.

  16. I together with my guys ended up reading the nice points from your website while all of a sudden developed a horrible feeling I never thanked the site owner for them. The young men ended up so very interested to read through all of them and have now definitely been using those things. Many thanks for being very helpful and for utilizing variety of ideal subject areas most people are really desperate to understand about. Our own sincere regret for not saying thanks to you sooner.

  17. Thanks a lot for providing individuals with remarkably nice opportunity to discover important secrets from here. It is usually very pleasurable and jam-packed with a lot of fun for me personally and my office peers to search your web site at least three times weekly to see the newest things you will have. And lastly, we are certainly amazed with the terrific thoughts you serve. Certain 4 points in this article are particularly the best I have had.

  18. I wish to express thanks to this writer for bailing me out of this condition. Right after surfing throughout the world wide web and meeting proposals which are not powerful, I believed my entire life was over. Existing minus the solutions to the issues you have resolved all through this site is a crucial case, as well as ones that might have in a wrong way affected my career if I had not noticed your website. The competence and kindness in touching all the details was priceless. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not encountered such a point like this. I am able to at this point look ahead to my future. Thanks so much for your skilled and results-oriented guide. I will not hesitate to recommend your blog to anybody who will need direction about this subject matter.

  19. I enjoy you because of all your work on this website. My mom delights in engaging in investigation and it is obvious why. My spouse and i notice all relating to the dynamic tactic you offer important solutions via your website and even inspire participation from people on that issue and my daughter is really becoming educated a lot of things. Take pleasure in the remaining portion of the year. You are performing a fabulous job.

  20. Thank you a lot for providing individuals with such a special possiblity to read in detail from here. It’s always so good plus stuffed with fun for me personally and my office acquaintances to visit your website more than 3 times in one week to study the newest items you will have. And definitely, I am also at all times contented concerning the extraordinary principles served by you. Selected 4 facts in this post are undoubtedly the most efficient we have had.

  21. I wanted to write you one tiny observation so as to say thank you over again about the nice concepts you’ve discussed on this site. It was quite remarkably generous with people like you to give openly all that a lot of folks might have offered for an electronic book to make some cash for themselves, principally given that you might well have tried it if you ever desired. The smart ideas likewise served to become a fantastic way to fully grasp most people have a similar interest much like my very own to know the truth a lot more when it comes to this problem. I am certain there are thousands of more pleasant times in the future for individuals that browse through your website.

  22. My spouse and i were very joyous when Chris managed to conclude his research through the entire ideas he discovered through the blog. It’s not at all simplistic just to find yourself releasing secrets and techniques which people might have been selling. And we also fully grasp we’ve got the blog owner to give thanks to for that. Those illustrations you’ve made, the simple site navigation, the relationships you will assist to create – it’s most powerful, and it is assisting our son and us know that the subject matter is cool, and that is extraordinarily serious. Thank you for the whole thing!

  23. Thank you for all of the efforts on this web page. My niece loves carrying out research and it is simple to grasp why. We all learn all relating to the compelling way you give very useful things via the blog and even recommend response from other people on that content so my princess is really being taught so much. Take pleasure in the remaining portion of the year. You are always performing a remarkable job.

  24. Needed to send you a tiny note just to give many thanks again relating to the exceptional ideas you’ve shared here. This is certainly incredibly open-handed of people like you to allow freely all a few individuals could have sold as an e book to generate some dough on their own, and in particular since you might have done it if you ever desired. These tactics also served to be a great way to fully grasp that many people have similar eagerness just like mine to figure out much more with regard to this matter. I am sure there are numerous more pleasant situations ahead for folks who take a look at your blog.

  25. Thanks so much for giving everyone an exceptionally remarkable chance to read from this site. It’s always very enjoyable and also full of a lot of fun for me and my office colleagues to search your blog on the least 3 times a week to read the latest guidance you will have. Not to mention, I am just actually amazed considering the astounding tips you give. Selected 1 areas in this post are honestly the most impressive I’ve had.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.