Manifestos like the ones pictured here make me so tired. I feel like they’re yelling at me. “Hey you!” they cry. “Stop whatever it is you’re doing right now and start LIVING YOUR LIFE, for goodness sake! Carpe Diem! Seize the Moment! LIFE IS SHORT, so live it UP!” It feels less like inspiration and more like an indictment.
They want me to “stop what I’m doing and TRAVEL” while “DOING ONE THING A DAY THAT SCARES ME!” But most importantly, they want to make sure I get the message that time’s a wastin’. Do. It. Now. Now. NOW!
The thing is, I am living the life that I want. But even a life we love is filled with banal bits and bobs that don’t particularly look or feel inspirational.
Even Mary Oliver, bless her heart, makes me anxious when she asks me – “What is it you plan to do/with your one wild and precious life?” Every time I read that, I feel like I should drop everything and find a field of wildflowers to be running through – preferably nude.
So, largely in self-defense, I’ve created my own manifesto, one that actually makes me feel more relaxed when I read it, not less. Now, when I run into one of these posters on the Internet (most of which are, I should point out, advertising, which may also be why they rub me the wrong way) I can pull out my own and remind myself I don’t have to tear off my clothes and buy a plane ticket around the world to be living a full life.
MY (MOSTLY) STRESS-FREE MANIFESTO
1.) Everything is already okay. It’s also okay that you don’t believe this most of the time.
2.) Kindness begins with yourself.
3.) Forgiveness begins with yourself, too, including forgiveness for the myriad ways you’ve failed to be kind to yourself.
4.) Checking a New Yorker magazine out at the library is a triple win: It gets you into a library, which soothes your soul, it keeps back issues from piling up, which serves the Earth, and it makes sure you’re reading something, which stimulates your intellect. Bonus: it’s free.
5.) Look at your dog. No matter what, he still loves you.
6.) There are very few moments that cannot be made at least slightly better by taking a deep breath. Or drinking a glass of water. Or lighting a candle.
7.) You don’t have to apologize for liking television. The fact that entertaining and occasionally intelligent content is beamed directly into your home is nothing short of a miracle. Television is wonderful.
8.) As soon as you lose a pound, you gain it. As soon as your house is clean, it gets messy again. As soon as your bank balance goes up, it goes down. You can let it go.
9.) You may not always be able to travel somewhere new, but you can always look at your world through traveller’s eyes.
10.) Remember -no one else has it figured out either (even the ones writing loud manifestos). We’re all in the same boat, headed in the same direction.