So, it’s the very last day of the A to Z Challenge and I’m really going to miss these posts. And it really has been a challenge, thinking of stuff to say every day about the arbitrary topics I set myself at the start! I’ve surprised myself by finding that I really do have something to say about almost anything 😉 – but today’s topic – originally Zoo – has me a little stumped.

Back in March, when I was planning a trip to the zoo for my birthday (more for my daughter’s birthday, actually), I had an idea that this post could include pictures of our trip, maybe a funny anecdote or an idea for creating characters around animal characteristics. Now that just seems like too much of a stretch, plus there aren’t any photos – plus, I don’t really like the zoo!

There’s something so tragic about all those magnificent animals confined to tiny environments. Sure, the spaces are much bigger than they used to be, but it’s still a poor substitution for the wild. And the whole “it’s for conservation” line that gets rammed down your throat the entire time you’re there makes me wince – if it wasn’t for zoos, for people’s determination to bring the world to their own doorstep in Victorian times, would there be such a pressing need for conservation?

Well, I don’t want to get into all that here – I don’t know enough about it for one thing. Zoos just make me icky, is all, so today I’m going to ditch the Z for zoo and instead go for … Zen!

Yes, after a month’s worth of blogging nearly every day I think Zen is a fitting place to end. Zen Buddhism is all about achieving enlightenment and living in the present, and meditation is a central part of its practice. Have you ever tried to meditate? I found it incredibly hard, and I know it’s not supposed to be hard. Many years ago I had a boss who considered himself to be a bit ‘zen’, and whenever I said I would try to do something, he’d reply: ‘Don’t try to do it, Joanne. Just do it.’ Infuriating though he was, he kind of had a point. Sometimes trying can really get in the way of doing. Saying you are going to try and do something starts a process in your brain: this will be an effort; it must be planned for and worked for; there’s a possibility I won’t be able to do it. But if instead of deciding to try something you just did it, just made a start … well, in some circumstances the results might be surprising.

I’m going to go forward from this challenge with a new attitude. I feel incredibly lucky to have made so many new blogging friends. I feel empowered by the knowledge that I can write every day – without even ‘trying’. I feel grateful for every single comment I’ve had, and I’m focussing on the present right now – at 10.06 on the 30th April 2013 – to take stock of exactly where I am. And it’s all good 😉

Lonely Monkey Ape at Zoo
Where are all my friends? (Photo credit: