My own words to live by.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the me of 20 years ago — about who I was then, and, sure, about how the me of now has developed from her. I do believe that the me of now is far wiser than the me of then. But I’m also, somehow, less vivid. There’s beauty in youth — in the passionate expression of self and beliefs that comes so easy when you’re young. Just as there’s beauty in the wisdom that comes from successfully navigating life up to now. Who is to say, though, that when one is older, one must relegate the gold and laurels of youth to a dusty trunk in the back corner of one’s heart? Behind scar tissue perhaps. Or just wrinkles. I want to honor the me of then AND the me of now. Because really, if I don’t choose to be the best of what I ever have been, how can actualize my honest belief that my best is yet to come?

So I sat down and wrote my own personal creed. (Yeah, I fully get that calling this a creed is a throw-back and nod to my Catholic childhood, and I’m rolling with it. This is all about honoring myself through the metaphorical ages, after all.) These are my own beliefs, based on what I have learned. They are my own words to live by and my own reminders that passion and wisdom are both combinable and ageless. You might feel a twinge of recognition when you read them. Maybe you’ll nod or sigh or even quote them to a friend. My hope, though, is that maybe they will inspire you to write your own.

  • Feel so deeply it hurts.
  • Be open to the opportunity you will always find in the risky way.
  • Read.
  • Educate yourself. Hatred is born in the dark.
  • Write poetry. In journals, on napkins, in book margins, on magazine blow-ins.
  • Paint.
  • Mix it up. Do something different every day. Even if it means, on a slow day, brushing your teeth with your left hand.
  • Be on time.
  • Do your best. Honestly.
  • Choose to be with people who want you to be the biggest version of yourself, and genuinely want the same for them.
  • Even if you know you must hurt someone else to stay true to yourself, be respectful.
  • When you have extra, share.
  • Never give up. Never settle.
  • Empower your passion. Empower yourself through it.
  • Believe that you can.
  • Nervous is ok. Afraid is not.
  • Be invincible.
  • Know in your core that you do, can, and will make a difference.
  • Your thoughts, words, and actions are powerful. Use them for good.
  • Take full responsibility for what you say and do.
  • Smile.
  • Laugh.
  • Cry.
  • Honor yourself by learning from your mistakes.
  • Keep your body strong. There’s freedom and beauty in knowing you can physically do anything you want to do when you want to do it. Lift that box. Swim to that island. Run to the top of that mountain.
  • When it’s truly time to leave, know it and do it. Whether it’s an empty room, a party, an uncomfortable situation, or a relationship.
  • Do not give away your personal power. Even in the direst of times, you choose how you react.
  • When your love is misplaced, set yourself free. Self-love, self-respect, and dignity are your own personal treasures and you have every right to lock them away from grabbing hands.
  • Your happiness is like a sourdough starter. You have to feed it daily.
  • Trust your instincts. If it feels right, it is. If it feels wrong, it is.
  • Make the active decision to not be jealous. Be gracious and happy for others and if you really want something, make it happen.
  • You have the power to handle anything this life throws at you.
  • Ask for help when you need it. But even at your most vulnerable, be discerning of the advice and the giver of it.
  • Be you. Own it.
  • When it’s your time to die, you will. Live big until then.
  • Go.

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