A Personal Manifesto

“We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.” C.S. Lewis

It’s only been a year.

But it’s amazing how much life can change in such a short amount of time. Today, I find myself in a completely different frame of mind than I was when I wrote “Life at the End of 23.” At the in-between age of 25, the growing pains of emerging adulthood are giving way to a new emotion—a nostalgic mourning of the sheer exuberance that was my late teens and early 20s.

After all, the early 20s are the final rebellion—the last time in life in which you can acceptably let one foot drag within the realm of adolescence as the other steps boldly into adulthood. But for me, at age 25, the previews have ended. The movie has started, and like it or not, my life means something.

At 25, I’ve been around long enough to have seen opportunities pass, to have seen doors shut, to have things to lose, to have a growing list of failures and accomplishments, and to have a whole lot of feelings of pride and regret.

And as I struggle to keep my focus in front of me with everything from my past slipping behind me, it is clear my choices now are more permanent than ever. The choices I make now cannot be tucked away and forgotten, written off as childhood lessons learned. These choices are creating my life; they are my life.

Now, more than ever, I must create the person I want to be.

Because I know, no one grows up wanting to be average. No one grows up thinking they will be at a dead end job, divorced or live their entire life in a place they hate. But these are things that happen when we grow lazy, content, frustrated and scared, when we start settling for what is easy or convenient instead of what is right or must be earned. It happens when we sell ourselves short and compromise on the very thing on which we built our goals and aspirations—ourselves.

Because good enough will always be the enemy of great.

My Manifesto

I will…

– be opportunistic, not exploitative.
– know that hope is not a strategy.
– believe that luck is not a factor.
– understand that fear is not an option.
– take action not because I can, but because I should.
– know that he who apologizes first, wins.
– not envy what I can’t take with me, both material and other.
– always be sure to ask the right questions.
– trust that I, solely, am responsible for my life and the way it turns out.