I wish all of you a very happy, healthy, exciting, and prosperous Year of the Ox!
In the Oriental zodiac, the Ox is the second animal, after the Rat and preceding the Tiger in the race to visit the Jade Emperor. One version of the story goes that the Ox, not the most fleet of animals over the long run, but very diligent and ambitious, started out early to ensure a first-place arrival. That the cunning Rat tricked the Ox by hitching a ride and then jumping off and scampering across the finish line ahead of him does not detract from the prudent perseverance with which the Ox approached the race.
People born in the Year of the Ox are supposed to have some of the characteristic traits of the Ox: they are said to be hard-working, prudent, methodical, steady, conservative, enduring, and responsible.
On the other hand, their admirable determination might on occasion become stubborn and inflexible, and they are not known for being expressive of their feelings.
I'm not a believer in astrology, whether Oriental or Occidental, but I find the tales amusing, and if the behavior of Ox-Year people matches the image, well, perhaps that's a self-fulfilling prophecy. And it doesn't hurt to contemplate the characteristics of the year's zodiac animal, whether to emulate or to avoid throughout the year.
After what seems to me to have been a long, slow slog, but which various therapists and medical personnel assure me is remarkably fast, I have progressed over the past year from "barely able to strand up, with assistance" to "no longer needing a wheelchair, pretty quick getting around with a walker, probably walking with a cane soon, and able to drive, carefully". Practical mobility has improved from a question of "whether" to one of "when". There is a lot of work still to be done before I enter any dance contests, however.
The Ox's diligence and dogged determination may be just what I should be striving to imitate this coming year, and in particular I should perhaps attempt to emulate its prudence and responsibility...two traits for which I have not necessarily been well known.
May the coming year be a very safe and happy one for you, and much, much better than this past year has been.