this year has been a pretty momentous one. if we're talking may to may, i've seen graduation, moving to new york, struggling to find a job, finding a job, playing at life, etc. if we're talking 2014 alone, well, that's been a whole lot of momentousness that basically culminates in me getting a desk at work (yay!). #winning
i think it's always a good sign when a year feels long and full and hazy. like i've stuffed it with so many experiences, so many changes, that my memory bank can't sort through everything that happened. but it really comes around to one thing, and that's the fact that i really just can't believe how...comfortable i am. i've never felt this way before--this free, this happy, this sincere. it's like the me i was finally came to terms with the me i wanted to be.
and in that vein (of grandiose and cliched) i've been trying to put into words what i've learned or how it's changed. not because i'm perfect. but because i wanted to bottle what i was thinking right now. i wanted to write down and forever remember what i was feeling in this moment--this beautiful, breathless, incredible-in-every-sense-of-the-word moment where life just seems beautiful.
so i wrote a manifesto. it's been quite the ordeal, deciding what i really believed and cared about and valued. but this is what it came to, these certain unalienable truths that i definitely hold to be self-evident. and it goes a little something like this...
Life wholly lived
That it may be said that I lived a life of passion met with purpose; that I was never merely comfortable or fine or settled, but that I was always seeking more; that I believed in myself and tried my best to always believe in others; that I spent time instead of money, gave everything instead of nothing, collected memories instead of things; that I never gave in to the doldrums of mundanity or the false security of monotony; that money never haunted my motives and achievements never hindered my ambitions; that I always clung to joy even when life wasn’t happy; that I let individuality and not traditionality define success; that I lived always in pursuit of life—that all this and more may be proven true, I hereby lay out these most crucial truths by which I might better LIVE.
You only have one life to be yourself.
Regardless of what the world may expect, suggest, or demand, there is no one right way or one right life. Never lose yourself in an attempt to fit in to a crowd, a group, a culture. Always consider the why instead of simply following the what. Life is too short to live out other people’s expectations, so be yourself. Your desires, hopes, and dreams are always valid. Consider what you need and what god needs of you always before letting others begin to define you. Because you are enough.
Every day is a miracle.
Recognize that every day and every moment is a chance to feel something new. Appreciate every breath—from the quiet moments, the down time, the simple pleasures, to the big, the loud, the brash, the memorable. To become complacent is to risk forgetting what it is to live, so never entertain a mundane thought. Life is hard, so live hard. Be open to adventure and spontaneity. Never settle into a routine. Always seek out new people, new things, new ideas. In other words, live life unabashed.
The only way through is up.
Always live life in a forward motion. Challenge yourself to be more. Recognize that you should always be changing, growing, progressing—becoming more—and that the world around you can move with you. People are complex, often inexplicable, and you’ll never really know them or all their intricacies. So why not just believe in them? Life is hard enough; we cannot afford to turn against each other. Believe that people get better, and live each day to try and prove it in turn.
The world is not meant to be small.
Do not get caught up in your own bubble. Familiarity is a beautiful thing, but there is a whole world to discover and explore. Crave the bigness of the world, the liveliness of it. Travel any and everywhere possible. And when you do, go not as a tourist but as a discoverer, an explorer, an adventurer. Taste the world from a new perspective. Be there as a witness and participant, never just passing through. Remember, we only have this world for one life. Don’t waste it.
All that glitters is, in fact, not gold.
Remember that money is fleeting and things don’t last. Cost and worth are two very different things—understand the difference. Never let things become everything. Yes, responsibilities are real and certain opportunities cannot be met without certain sacrifices. But the sacrifice should never be living. Wisdom must win, but don’t hold off on the life you want. Money and the weight it carries is not everything the world would have you believe; use it in ways that matter to you.
Dreams are never just dreams.
People will tell you that dreams, by their very definition, are unattainable. But hard work always pays off. Faith and trust are the endless motivators. And dreams are all we have, so live for them—spend every waking moment desperate to find, know, and fulfill them. Life is about going hard and giving it your all. Remember, safety is not guaranteed. To just get by will never cut it. So whether or not the dream happens or it changes, the pursuit will never be a waste.