Friday, January 25, 2013


I'm getting too old, too jaded, too busy to concoct one of these here life manifestos.
<< See left.

Yet I'm assigning this to my high school creative writing class. Am I too much the hipster, oldster style, that if I forced myself to complete said assignment, I would rebel? I think to myself, what a bunch of greeting card hogwash.

If I must buy a card, it's usually one of those square numbers with just this inspirational mumbo-jumbo on it. For instance, this week I had to buy a card for a kid who survived an auto accident when his best friend didn't. No one knows what's more fractured- his pelvis or soul. I don't know what to say to him, but please, I cannot bear the idea of passing along "smarmy pappy-crap" (High Fidelity Quote). I skipped American and H***mark. I went to a local store and anguished over the cards there. I ended up with this one, and a niggling sense of doubt.>>

At least this one is more sensible mumbo-jumbo.

All that greeting card fantasy life leaves me wondering if the manifesto is a good idea, especially if I won't do what I assigned high schoolers to do. And, this is very important, I believe strongly in doing the assignments myself to see what I am requiring of them.

But when it comes to a life manifesto, I traded out  its high-falutin' axioms for a cliche of the bucket list. This is a cop-out. It occurs to me that I don't want to write a manifesto because, I have graduated myself from enjoying life, to surviving it.

A bucket list is a bummer list. It will not get me to happiness, only some nice memories, which are like clothes in my closet that I don't wear and won't share, and some clout. The manifesto might be worth making. At least I can retain my dignity when I wail out the lyrics to Bob Dylan's "I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now." I can thrash and mean it. So for your reading enjoyment, here is a comparison. See where gratefulness comes from there.

On my bucket list:
Ride in a hot air balloon.
Run a 50 miler.
Go to St. Catherine's Monastery, Thessaloniki, The Church of the Nativity, Monasteries in Essex and Romania.
Write a book. Really try to publish it.
Get short pieces published often.
Get a job where I don't feel like I'm "the screw-up they are talking about" whenever the entire staff gets a talking too, or a memo gets posted.
Get a job reading books, outloud, quietly. Any job reading books.
Run a flash kitchen for a week or two. Just cause.
Plant cranberries, currants, ground cherries, tomatillos, goji berries, persimmons, brussel sprouts, heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, baby melons, sweet potatos, peas, beans, asparagus, herbs, every year. Just cause I like them.
Plant enough every year to share.

Here's my manifesto. It adopts what's above, with changes.

Start enjoying life. Play more. No really. Play. Whatever it looks like, probably reading tons of books, more disc golf, enjoying morning runs (hey, I'd settle for getting to run!)
Hug my kids. Give them back rubs, neck rubs, brush their hair. Play games with them. They are moving out soon, WAAAYYY too soon.
Cry when I feel like it. No one said a little cry now and again isn't allowed just because you wear big girl knickers.
Be kinder than necessary. Make more people smile. Give other people "daisies" whatever their daisies are, when they need it, instead of when I feel like it. Remember to do what Mother Teresa said, give my best, be happy, keep giving, Because it's not between me and them, it was, and is, between me and God, anyhow.
Quit beating myself up for not giving daisies today. Try again in the next hour, next day, next week. It's okay to miss some opportunities sometimes. Don't freeze up when it happens.
Plant what I like. Don't cry when the plants don't flourish. Some factors are beyond my control. But plant enough to try to share.
Be Frugal.
Visit as many monasteries as I can, because it's the last place I still respect the stillness with my body, and I need to pray more.
Read the books I want. And more. Write some books. Write down those recipes people ask for. Cook. It is my other creative pursuit. Stop telling myself that I am going to learn to knit, re-learn how to basket weave, sew, and crochet.
Avoid using to-do lists like prozac. Avoid seeking lauds and accolades. Remember how cheap the trophy was when I finally earned it, and then the "what am I going to do with this and how long do I have to keep it" stages. Lauds are the same.
I love making others smile, laugh, feel better. Do that once a day. It's my apple-a-day.
Add to this manifesto.

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