Yesterday, Someone Close to me asked if I had been writing lately. I answered truthfully that I have not. I told him I’ve been adrift at sea - lost, in a way, not sure of what to say. He asked if that wasn’t the best time to write, but it seems like I’ve been too busy trying just to stay afloat and alive, but I felt like the words would come in, gale force, once I reached my desert island. I think land is in sight…

This last few months has been a whirlwind of things. Good things. Activity, travel, work, people, stimulation, challenges… but this week I have had the first opportunity in a very long time to do some reading, and I finished Mark Manson’s second book, Everything is F*cked - A Book About Hope. The book was about hope, but certainly not in the way that I had imagined. As with his first book, Manson makes me feel like a mindless fangirl and I had to watch several videos of him lecturing in order to find some points I disagreed with in order to feel less like a cultish follower. The book is spot on, and if you’re a seeker, you should read it. If you are happy and content in your life most of the time and can’t understand what the problem is with people like me, then it would probably just upset you. I don’t know very many people like that, which is probably subconsciously intentional.

I also read an essay by Ryan Holiday, who, if you don’t know, is the guy behing the Daily Stoic, among other life-changers, and he wrote this list of 32 Thoughts of a 32 Year Old which had some big stand-outs for me, the biggest of which, in addition to the reinforced idea of less social media, was this line:

“You need a philosophy and you need to write it down. And re-write it and go over it regularly. Life is too hard (and too complicated) to try to wing it and expect to do the right thing.”

So I took a break from watching Mark Manson videos (which included a rabbit hole into one of his ex-girlfriend’s blogs wherein she correlated him with the biblical anti-christ through a series of unintentionally hilarious extrapolations) and wrote down my philosophy. At first, I was like “Oh my gosh, this is a big, overwhelming task on which I will need to meditate for three days before composing a first draft!” But before that thought had finished processing, I had the first line of my philosophy, because if a philosophy isn’t right from the gut and the heart, it’s probably not yours.

Love more.

Love isn’t all we need, but we need to love more. And while that can sound all intangible and ambiguous, it looks like this:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (I Cor. 13:4-8) I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t, except to sum it up in one word: UNCONDITIONAL.

Judge less.

Yes, this is the lens through which I view the world around me, but more importantly, it’s the lens through which I view myself. I am more successful in extending grace to anybody but me.

Work hard.

Mark Manson argues that the one constant in human life is pain, and that our only real control has much less to do with hope, happiness or success, (because as we all know, shit well beyond our control happens ALL THE DAMN TIME) but more the power we have over HOW we suffer. We can choose our own pain. We can suffer physically from mistreating our bodies and allowing them to deteriorate or we can suffer WITH GAINZ! by working hard to be strong and physically resilient and healthy. We can agonize over things that happen to us and wallow in our victimization or we can take control of the space between our own ears and choose to look at each circumstance as something necessary for our growth - our mental, emotional and psychological resilience. Choose your pain. Do the work.

Always Learn.

This world is a classroom. There is SO MUCH to absorb. Never quit looking.

Give back.

This is all about gratitude. It’s when we’re giving to others that we’re so much more aware of our own abundance. Even when you don’t feel like you’ve got it to give - give, and you’ll discover that you have so much more than you thought.

Play now.

It might be your last chance. Never turn down an opportunity to play, to chase joy, to laugh. If there is a glimpse of childlike wonder in front of you, grab it now. Don’t bypass a beer with a friend, coffee with your mom, a Really Tall Slide or couch time with your best friend. Stop and smell the flowers. Take the damn selfie with your homies. These are the moments you will take with you when you go, I promise.

So there it is. My philosophy in 12 words or less. LOVE MORE. JUDGE LESS. WORK HARD. ALWAYS LEARN. GIVE BACK. PLAY NOW. Not three days of soul-searching. Not shipwrecked and alone. Right off the top of my brain and the depths of my heart. It’s the golden standard to measure every action by. If what I am doing right now doesn’t fit into one of those slots, I need to evaluate whether my effort and energy is being wasted, cause ain’t nobody got time for that! What is your philosophy?