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When approached to write a small article for the Iranian Times, my first thought was “but I’m not a writer!” But then remembering my Space Blog and its warm reception, I revisited some of the comments people had written to me during that time. It all brought back many great memories and intense emotions. It made me realize how much I had missed the opportunity to share my thoughts freely with a large audience around the world and to see their reactions. So I decided to say yes… and here I am writing to you….

Norouz is upon us; one of my favorite times of the year.  Every year, this time, I get on my soap box and tell all my non-Iranian friends about my Iranian heritage and the origins of Norouz.  I proudly explain how appropriate it is to celebrate the New Year on the day that Mother Earth awakens from a long winter sleep.  “No – Rouz” literally means “Brand-new Day”.  A new day heralds new opportunities… new hope. With a new day, as the energizing rays of the morning sun start casting their orange glow over our sleepy towns, we awaken to new possibilities.  This new day could be just another day like the one before or it could be different.   We get to choose.  We get to decide to introduce a change or to stay with more of the same.  The change you make may be small and insignificant to anyone else but you… but it’s a “CHANGE”. 

Why “Change” you may ask… “Life is ok”, “How do I know the change would be for better and not for worse?”, “How would I know that I would not regret it?”… Well you don’t know… That’s what makes it special.  It is all about possibilities... One thing though is for certain, if you don’t make a change, you would never know if it “could” be better.   It is with making a change and trying something new, something different, that we test our limits.  It is with making a change that we learn something new, experience something new, experience growth.  The result of the change is not as important as willingness to make that change; the courage to face the vulnerability of not knowing the outcome and yet to take the leap. Even if what you try ends in disaster, you are left with an invaluable lesson that makes you a better human being.  The day you stop trying to change is the day you loose hope; hope for a better life, a better health condition, a better environment, a better world… and a life without hope…  well I wouldn’t want to live it…

You may ask yourself “what is she talking about?”,  “what is all this talk about change?”.  Well I was asked to write about Iran.  I’m not an expert in Iranian matters.  I have not lived there for many years, so what I know of life in Iran is through biased comments I hear from friends and family members who visit Iran or from the media.  My closest personal experience is through the comments I received on my Blog during my visit to the International Space Station.   Reading the comments of the young Iranian boys and girls who live in Iran, one thing was apparent; they were all looking for “Hope”.   They wanted someone to tell them that life will be better… that they will have the possibility of a brighter future… that they do not have to live in fear of war… that the world does not hate them… that they have dignity and deserve respect… 

They wanted me to tell the world that they are no different than the young boys and girls in America or in Europe who wake up in the morning with the hope of learning something new in school, the hope of being loved by their family and friends, the hope of growing up to have a family and being successful, the hope of a peaceful life.   And I did and continue to do…

But now it is your turn… No-rouz is here…It is a “brand new day”… don’t waist it regretting the past and fearing the future… your fate is in your own hands. Seize the day! “Be the Change you want to see in the world”.