Do You Have A Life Philosophy?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May your hearts, minds, families and homes be filled with gratitude and blessings. As part of this season's focus on gratitude and thanks, I'm doing a huge number of THANKSGIVING GIVEAWAYS!  I'm giving away lots of good things throughout the entire month of November (and now I'm up until Christmas--I have more things than I can ever use, and there will be LOTS of giveaways). In the last post, I gave away a copy of Shane Mac's book, "Stop With The BS," and today I'll be giving away TWO free seats to Molly Mahar's "Holiday Council," a 21-day course that helps you reflect on the year past and plan for the upcoming year, beginning November 26th, with the fabulous Molly (and I may even make a cameo in her interview series!). To win, see the question at the end--the winners will be chosen at the end of the day Friday, November 23rd.

In the coming weeks, I'll be giving away three copies of a documentary, creating up a "Pay What You Can" day, and opening up new spots for the Start Something Project in December and January. Lots of good things! But now--to the bigger question, and the focus of this essay: 

Do You Have A Philosophy Of Life?

Do you have a life philosophy? A great goal so important that you’re willing to sacrifice other goals? Many writers today categorize this as your "passion," your "purpose,"  or your "legend," often with the intention that you should know what it is soon and figure it out.

Personally, I find this stressful to consider: we don't always know what we like, and sometimes we have to get really good at something before we find it satisfying; the paradox of passion is that often, in my experience, you have to grow it. It's not something that you are necessarily born with (although many are born "playing the piano," and other examples), sometimes you have to cultivate, curate, and discover what it is that makes you tick. It's one of the reasons I find doing things so incredibly important; discovery, skill and mastery are as essential to happiness as many other things. One of the paradoxes of happiness (to paraphrase Gretchen Rubin) is that often what makes us happy doesn't feel good in the moment.

The idea of happiness, and of a life philosophy, comes back to a central question, one that Mary Oliver asks well:

"What will you do with your one wild and precious life?

This question is by no means a new question—a look back at the major philosophers of the 5th and 6th centuries and at the idea of philosophy itself reminds us that people have been asking these questions for generations. We are not alone in the universe in these speculations (and often I wonder if we are behind, in not rigorously reviewing the texts of our forefathers; are these internet explosions good for us or just filling time? I hope it's not the latter, but as I personally push myself towards more difficult writing, I wonder if what I'm writing is useful, or just another chatter in the conversation).

William B. Irvine, in a book I’ve recently picked up, A Guide To The Good Life, begins his writings on Stoicism and the history of philosophy by asking:

What do you want out of life?

And I’d love to turn this question over to you as well: What do you want out of life? Do you know?

When you ponder this answer, do you consider things or lists (such as a spouse, a family, a good job, money)? Do you want to make a difference? Do you want to leave a legacy? What is your dream?

Or are you bothered by the idea that you should have some life philosophy and you don’t really know what it looks like, feels like or sounds like?

A lot of people have trouble answering this question. We’re not a culture necessarily designed to stop and think about these questions or spend afternoons wandering together musing over these difficult and long-term perspectives. We are, as Irvine writes, provided with “an endless stream of distractions” so we “won’t ever have to” think about our “grand goal in living.”

And I tweeted about this recently: If you get to age 90 and look back, what will you be happy about? What will you be glad you did?

Early Schools Of Philosophy

The early schools of philosophy were developed around specific ideas and beliefs about what one should (and shouldn’t) do and become in their lifetimes. The study and creation of a philosophy of life isn’t crafted in a single day or conversation: it’s something you work towards, specifically, over time; for many Greeks and Romans, they hired tutors and enrolled in studies in order to develop and adopt a philosophy of life.

Today, we craft smaller philosophical stories by attaching ourselves to various crafts--Yoga, for example, is a philosophy and a practice; education is a practice and a routine; a job and the daily grind, for many, becomes our routine.

Yet as I muse--and as I make more time and space to muse, deliberately un-scheduling myself from the epic chase towards "more work!" that I've designed my life around for many years--I wonder.

I wonder if our national philosophy is a bit awry. Or, better yet: do we have a national philosophy? I think there is a bigger story in our national culture: perhaps we’re a nation craving a philosophy. Craving a way of living, and leaders to teach us how to live.

On top of this, I think that many of the structures and institutions that we’ve previously trusted to help us “lead the good life” are failing us. We've adopted and ascribe to several paradigms that we unknowingly buy into, or mindlessly follow, and then when we realize--ten, twenty, thirty years later--that these particular life paths haven’t left us any more satisfied or well-off, we wonder what went wrong.

Corrupt Philosophies?

I started to sketch out some of the assumptions underpinning much of (Western) American life, and I want to turn the question over to you: Do you identify with any of the following assumptions? Are these cultural norms that you believe in? Or perhaps is it time to stop and consider--

--Do you really want these things? Are these part of your philosophy of life?

Trends and Common Cultural Norms: Or, Corrupt Philosophies For Those Who Don't Have One. The following list is a sketch of some commonly-held life philosophies in our culture. Do you subscribe to these? Do they work for you?

  • Get a spouse. We’re a nation and a culture that prioritizes couples over single-dom, and the way that this relationship looks has a very particular mainstream look; we're inundated with stereotypical relationship stories and messages, much of which look nothing like the beautiful couples I see living life outside of the radar. While I don’t disagree that human connection is one of the most important pieces of living; I wonder if this is the only way that human connectivity looks like. What does it really mean to connect, to relate? How do we do this? Have we all fallen under the massive media spell?
  • Have a family. Our overwhelming biological urges will tell us to make kids. It’s how our species survives. Yet in every single generation, there are many, many individuals who do not reproduce, and the complex entanglement of genetic evolution doesn't mean that these individuals get wiped out (for there are thousands and thousands of traits that are elected for or against). Not everyone has families; yet so many of us, perhaps unknowingly, subscribe to the belief that our life story will involve kids at some point in our twenties or thirties (or later). I'm not suggesting that this is false; I'm just wondering if you've ever thought about the fact that this is something that you truly want--or is it something you're going to do because it's what is done?
  • Get a job. The economy moves. We get jobs. We graduate high school, go to college, get a job, pay the bills. In general, I buy in: we exchange value in many iterations and forms; much of that is through monetary exchange for work done and work needed.
  • Buy a car. We have all sorts of language about how you "need" a car and how a car is your first "investment." I've tried to understand for more than ten years now why throwing $25,000 (and another $25,000 in expenses) towards moving yourself is better than a few bucks for a bus or using your own legs and a bicycle. Are we that bad at organizing space (and ourselves) so we must buy cars? Is this efficient, sustainable, or even free? (One argues that having a car equates to freedom; traffic, debt, and fuel discharges make me wonder.) Is this your life philosophy?
  • Figure out your career. What if we don't have to figure it out? What if we can just exist, wandering from interest to interest? What if we want to do three hundred things? What if I want to have seventy projects, four careers, and move from place to place and city to city, because that's more in line with what I want than anything else?
  • Go to college. I think college is still more beneficial than destructive, so I support it, but I'm curious if this is your philosophy. I also wonder if there are alternatives not yet considered or created (and so many recently are blooming like crazy: Khan Academy, Udemy, Skillshare, General Assembly, among others)
  • Education, generally. I believe in education, in learning, in the acquisition of skills and talents and the expansion of your brain. What I wonder is whether or not the current system of education is the philosophy that you ascribe to. Or, could it look like a wandering-free nomad, eating across the world, learning food? Or studying physicality and movement? Or teaching your children at home, or en route? Just because the world offers something one way, does not mean that this is the way it must be done.
  • Buy a house. I watch all of my peers--and parents, and friends, and colleagues--buy houses and get swallowed in debt payments and buried beneath the weight of the money they have promised someone else. What does it mean to live, on this planet, on the earth? Do you need a home? Why? What does home look like? For me, "what is home?" is a bigger question and study of mine, and I'm not sure of the answer yet. Is it smells? Particular belongings? People? Familiar spaces? Books? Minds? I'm not sure. I'm also not sure it's a 4-wall, physical erection on land bought with dollars promised from my future.

These are just the start to the blend of life philosophies that you may have inadvertently adopted. I'm not judging and saying any of these is WRONG. I'm just saying they might not all be for YOU. They might fit perfectly fine, and you may love having a car, a house, an education, and a family. As long as it is what you want: all the better.

I live my life (this "online-offline" blend) awash in counter-culture and a proliferation of bloggers and writers that preach the "unconventional" lifestyle; I also inhabit what I think is one of the greatest cities in the world; and I realize as I travel, write, and challenge these assumptions that a lot of people aren’t hearing this message yet. That the following is all optional, if you're creative about it:

  • You don’t have to spend a lot of money. 
  • You don’t have to go to college. 
  • You don’t have to get a job (a traditional job). 
  • You don’t need a resume. 
  • You don’t have to buy a house. 
  • You don’t have to get married.
  • You don't have to be in a relationship.  

These are a whole kit of parts that one might mistake as a philosophy of life, but the greater question is,

Does doing these things add up to what I want my life to look like?

Does this help me develop a philosophy of living? Will this help me live a good life? (Not HAVE a good life, note the subtle difference?)

There’s a lot of fear associated with giving up things, but often we find that the relationship of things-to-happiness is not what we assume it will be. What’s your philosophy? What are your actions? Are they adding up? Are you happy?

You don't need to figure out your philosophy by the end of this blog essay; in fact, it may take you years to figure out. The greatest philosophers spent time and energy discovering how and what to do, and how to live.

For more on my personal and developing philosophies, there are several essays on this site to dive into, from How To Live; or Your Life: The Design Problem; notes from Randy Pausch's Last Lecture or one of the very-first posts I published here, Towards Legacies. For more on debunking the myths of corporate philosophy, check out the recently-published book "Stop With The BS," or the video by Crank Tank Studios, "I'm Fine, Thanks." And of course, I'm always eagerly anticipating Danielle LaPorte's good works, and The Desire Map (out December 5th) looks yummy and delicious.

In any of these efforts, however, is the question you need to answer:

What will you do with your life, and how do you want that life to be lived?

Leave a note in the comments below.

Gratitudes & Giveaways: Is Now A Good Time? The Holiday Council

As part of this season of gratitude and giveaways, I have a plethora of wonderful gifts to share with each of you!

Molly Mahar of Stratejoy put together an annual 21-day Holiday Council designed for women (sorry, gentlemen! More prizes soon) to join together to recap and reflect on the past year, unpack the desires and dreams of the future, and make plans for the new year. As part of this year's course, she brought together a group of ladies I admire so much for a series of conversations. Join me with Ashley Ambirge, Shenee Howard, Tara Gentile, Hannah Marcotti and Jess Lively in a series of interviews with Molly. In our conversation, we spoke about the art of reflection, strategies for success, and behind-the-scenes secrets I use to stay motivated (and get so many things done). The course runs at $49, starts November 26th and is filled with a group of remarkable people.

AND I have TWO free spots to gift to two wonderful readers. 

To win one of the free spots in the Holiday Council, leave a note in the comments (and tell me you want to win the Holiday Council by writing #HolidayCouncil somewhere in your answers) answering one of the following questions before Friday, November 23rd at 9AM PST:

  • What life philosophies do you knowingly or unknowingly live by?
  • What are three things you've done really well this past year?
  • What is one dream you are working towards or have recently accomplished? 
  • What would you like to learn about or read about next? 

I'd love to hear from all of you, so even if you're not interested in the contest, please do share what you're thinking! Holiday Council prize winners should note the #HolidayCouncil in their comments to be eligible to win!

With love,



BIG SALE next week. It's my birthday, so I'm giving lots of stuff away. ALL my stuff will be on sale. Sign up here to find out when it all begins.


31 Responses to Do You Have A Life Philosophy?

  1. Sophia says:

    I often think about the exact same list of corrupt philosophies you created here. I bought into each and every one of them and the only one I really truly felt worked out for me (and still is) was buying a car! I’ve often struggled with how much I’ve bought into these ideas and then found out that I didn’t believe in them and then trudged through the mud to get out. But it’s also stuff that runs deep and recurs to be seemingly what I want… Anyways, just wanted to share those thoughts. I continue to be inspired by your blog! I’m in the middle of traveling, post-job-quitting, and am having an incredible time! Thanks for being one of my many anchors that keep me from floating away into the wide unknown!

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks, Sophia! I have also looked closely at each one, and I find that having a car is not necessarily part of my life, while a relationship and a family probably are. Not sure about the rest yet, and I’m open to possibility. So glad to have you here. Enjoy traveling and seeing the world; that’s awesome.

  2. Sarah says:

    Great post thank you. Timely for where I am at right now and the journey I am on. You take what I tried to say in my blog yesterday (http://sarahelink.blogspot.com/2012/11/its-end-of-world-as-i-know-it.html) and take it too much deeper levels. Thank you! – sarah

  3. [...] Peck of IT STARTS WITH is giving away 2 spots to the Holiday Council. Simply visit this post about Do you have a life Philosophy? to enter & [...]

  4. Melissa Meyer says:

    Sarah,

    Thank you. Your posts are a source of encouragement, bringing a dose of thoughtful joy to my morning (or afternoon if life busy-ness gets in the way!) I appreciate your perspective and desire to live a life you can call your own, based on what you value and love.

    May you Thanksgiving holiday be spent in gratitude with those you hold dearest.

    Blessings,
    Melissa

    • Sarah says:

      Melissa! Thank you so much for all of your encouragement and comments. I love seeing you here, and I’m glad that you enjoy the posts; I love that people read my blog. It makes my day–every comment!

  5. Jenn says:

    What an inspiring essay! Like you, I have pondered this for the last 15 years of my life and I guess I am always back where I started. Not exactly sure what is my purpose or my life philosophy; however this is not to say that I haven’t come up with some priorities and absolutes…and these are what I live my life by. They are: Creativity/Inspiration (Do something everyday that inspires you), Love and Relationship (Foster these and it will return a thousand fold), and Create a Strong Body (Your body is your temple).

    Three things I have done well this year…putting my needs first (as a lifelong “people pleaser” this was difficult but so liberating), learning to accept (as cliche as it sounds it does open your heart and world for great new things), being a better daughter.

    One dream that I am working towards is starting a family of my own.

    And finally one thing I want to learn is something old…relearn piano.

    On a personal note, just wanted to say how much I love your site!

    • Sarah says:

      YAY PIANO! I’m re-learning, too! I set up a “play date” to have a mini recital with some friends, which is encouraging me to practice and re-learn. Let me know how it goes!

      And congratulations on all the good accomplishments in other areas of your life. :) That’s incredible. Keep it up.

  6. tasra says:

    Sarah! I always love when your posts show up in my inbox. I’m incredibly minimalist in the blogs I subscribe to and have to say I always smile when I see yours. :)

    The idea of a #HolidayCouncil sounds amazing. I usually wile away the last days of the year on my own trying to remember all that I accomplished and rewrite a new life plan or philosophy for the year. Having a gutsy group of women to do that with sounds even more incredible than being a lone ranger in my end-of-year musings.

    What are three things you’ve done really well this past year?
    Unschooling our kids was the very first answer that popped into my mind. Not just unschooling them but letting go of the embarrassment of saying it out loud to people like teachers in traditional school. In the same vein, graduating our daughter from high school was another major accomplishment. Lastly, and this fits in with your recently accomplished dream question… I finally made it to Paris after 30 years of dreaming about it. It was life-changing, eye-opening and unforgettable!

    What would you like to learn about or read about next?
    Just finished Gordon Parks memoir written when he was 92! Plan to re-read his photography memoir, Half Past Autumn, next.

    • Sarah says:

      Tasra, I’m honored that you keep mine in your inbox! I edit a lot and try to write only essays that I think will intrigue, inspire, or prompt reflection; email is such an important space that I would never want to waste anyone’s time. It means a lot to me that you enjoy it.

      I’ll put you in for the Holiday Council and best of luck–it’s an incredible program! I think you would fit in well with that group.

      Congrats on the unschooling! I know what you mean about the mental alignment; sometimes it takes my brain a while to adjust to the way I tell the story of what I’m doing.

      Thanks for visiting!

  7. Joanne D says:

    Q: What life philosophies do you knowingly or unknowingly live by?

    A: My mom wants me to have a big house and travel to be happy. I am spending that money living in a small apt with the hubby to learn web development (working on a food tracking web app called http://www.FoodRubix.com) and to conquer my fear of public speaking (by taking stand-up comedy classes).

  8. John D says:

    Sarah, ….interesting post today. I am probably not the normal person that reads your blog…as I’m 57, had a career for 34 years with a major corporation, and because of work/stress, have really messed up my body physically. Many doctors, tests, drugs, etc to try and correct what 34 years of “wrong living” has done. (enough of that)….but the question of “Life Philosophy”, or “What Legacy do you want to leave?”, is now a hard one to answer. I had it all figured out, until my health changed. Now the things that I want to do, I can’t do. So at 57, I am really in a challenging stage of, “What do I want to do with the second half of my life?”. Not a easy answer. But I appreciate your blog today, as it re-raises the questions that are important for me, and others to answer. My only comment would be….”perhaps your answer to these questions will change, and sometime significantly depending on other circumstances that we are faced with…..be flexible, and willing to revisit these questions again and again.” I am. jd

  9. Noah says:

    I´ve been pondering this same question since we left on our 1-year career break in July. I´m currently gravitating towards Confucius´ ¨The Great Learning¨(http://nothingistic.org/library/confucius/learning/learning01.html) as my personal balanced approach for self and community. Each to their own, but this works for me right now.

    However, for the #HolidayCouncil prize, I respectfully submit my best friend / soulmate / wife Anne. She gives so much (to her family, friends, strangers) and asks for so little (nothing) in return, that I know that the opportunity to learn from (and contribute to) such an amazing group of women would be a fantastic gift for her, and for me. Happy thanks giving!

  10. Sophia says:

    #HolidayCouncil – What life philosophies do you knowingly or unknowingly live by?

    The primary philosophy that guides me is to be of service. This manifests itself in a bunch of different ways but seems to be the common thread when I look at the things that make me feel connected to the world around me and satisfied. Through service I am able to learn new things, meet new people, make a living, and help those around me.

    An example of this: Over the summer someone I know from a service organization I belong to wanted to self publish his book. I didn’t know the first thing about self publishing, I didn’t even know this person very well, but it sounded interesting to me. I love books and the thought of helping someone bring their book to the world seemed pretty awesome. My primary motivation was to be helpful (to be of service). Well, not only did we get his book published, but I got to know this person better and have made a genuine friend, learned about self publishing (from formatting to marketing), and helped my friend accomplish his goal.

  11. Janine says:

    What a great post; thank you. It’s quite timely, too, since I’ve been thinking a lot about the common life philosophies that I don’t want (spouse/kids/a stay-there-for-20-years-job), but society/family/friends keep telling me that I should.

    The one dream that I’m working towards is, thus, trying to figure out how my own philosophies in order to build a happy, meaningful life where I serve people living with disabilities and help *them* create happy, meaningful lives. (Unfortunately, I have quite figured out just quite how, yet. I’m a work in progress.) #HolidayCouncil

  12. Renee says:

    Q: What is one dream you are working towards or have recently accomplished?

    I think I always knew I’d end up in the classroom for life. I love learning, I love teaching, and I love writing. In March, I accepted admission to an incredible PhD program where they’re paying me to study what I love. Though the semester has been the toughest of my life, in 4-5 years, I’ll be Dr. Renee.

  13. Akirah says:

    Q: What life philosophies do you knowingly or unknowingly live by?

    A: I have this quote tattooed to my arm and I think it really rings true for me: “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived…this is to have succeeded.” This quote expresses my approach to my chosen profession — social work. I am a social worker because I strongly desire to help lighten the loads of others and help them breathe easier.

    The second expresses how I view my faith and how it motivates me to serve others through social work practice. It’s from To Kill a Mockingbird and was said by Atticus Finch (my first love): “Scout I couldn’t go to church and worship God if I didn’t try to help that man.” I absolutely love that sentence. And I love the idea of my love of God being active and beneficial towards others.

    These philosophies are important to me because they so simply describe some complicated stuff. In the midst of all the craziness I encounter as I navigate my faith and my profession, I know I can always go to those two quote to help keep me grounded. They’re the foundation.

  14. Kat says:

    What a timely post! After spending the past nine months living in Australia, I’ve recently decided to return home, and I’ve been thinking about these things (and not always doing a great job of verbalizing them). You’ve really gotten to the core of things here.

    What life philosophies do you knowingly or unknowingly live by?

    Part of my impetus to return home to the States was the end of my most recent relationship. I realized that over the course of the past year, though I’ve moved forward with my dream of becoming a full-time yoga teacher, I’ve also let a lot of other things slide. I’ve started to reassess my need for a relationship; I’m someone who’s always heavily valued my independence and my friendships, and I think those are where I need to focus my energy, rather than on the idea of romantic love. It’s a challenging one to release, as the older you get (and I’m in my 30s) the more you tend to get questions about when you’re going to settle down, or worse yet, the looks of pity as people tell you that “he’s out there.” Yet I have an amazing full single life, rich with friendships, a job I love, and adventures!

    As I’m moving into a new year and a new city, I love the idea of participating in the #HolidayCouncil. I want to keep moving toward my dream with a plan and a better understanding of myself.

  15. Claire says:

    Wow this post has got me thinking. I’ve never really thought of my life philosophy before.

    The #HolidayCouncil sounds like just what I need!

    One dream that I’m working towards is making my non-profit organization sustainable in the long-term. I launched Women LEAD, the first leadership development organization for young women in Nepal, in 2011. Since then I’ve been working on creating a strong organization here in the US to support our work. I’m hoping that going into 2013 I can keep on learning and improving. I’ve started becoming more organized and focused in the past few months, and I’m hoping I can go into 2013 ready to make my dream come true!

  16. Chrissa Dean says:

    This is going to sound odd but I recently was interviewed by a friend working on her Master of Social Work degree. She had to interview and analyze someone based on psychosocial theory. Essentially, we talked all about my life philosophy and how all the different elements of my life impacted this philosophy. It was a pretty hysterical night (fueled by wine, of course) but in the end, it really helped me get a clear view of my life and what I’m doing or not doing to remain true to my personal philosophy. I’ve got a pretty headstrong life philosophy centered on doing things my own way while being of service to others, leaving an impression on this world in a way that increases the opportunity of others to live the life they’ve imagined for themselves. Through that interview process with my friend, I was able to identify areas of my life that were out of alignment with this philosophy. This is the main reason that I am really interested in taking part in the #HolidayCouncil. I’m a big fan of Molly and Stratejoy, I even completed her Joy Equation a few years back when I was at a crossroads in my life. I really think participating in the #HolidayCouncil will help me work on those areas of my life that aren’t currently honoring my life philosophy and get me back on track.

  17. Hi Sarah,
    What a wonderful post. Inspiring and informative. I am happy to tell you I am following my purpose, which took me 36 years to find. The path is still unknown but it fills me with delight and a sense of calm to know I am moving in the right direction. I am currently reading ‘Less is More’ by Cecile Andrews and Wanda Urbanska, it is a wonderful book that speaks of all societies expectations as mentioned above and why it is healthy to challenge them to find our own happiness, Gratitude and Blessings :)

  18. Monica says:

    Sarah, this is a wonderful post and I can easily relate to it as I am getting ready to reflect on the goals I set for myself earlier this year. Most of which I have successfully accomplished except for one.

    Your post made me realize that I have not accomplished it because I battle with the life philosophy of having a job that pays well. You see I have a good job that pays well but I would like to become a teacher and educate children. I keep stirring away from this because I keep listening to everyone else’s philosophy. I hope to participate in #HolidayCouncil so I can begin 2013 with the courage to stop working for corporate America and start making a difference.

  19. Caiti says:

    I participated in the digital version of Stratejoy’s #HolidayCouncil last year, and really loved the direction it gave my year, and it’s great that you will be included as one of the interviews this year, Sarah. The interviews were my favorite part and I listened to them many times throughout the past year.

    What is one dream you are working towards or have recently accomplished?
    I had a goal last year to take an international trip at some point, which turned out SO much bigger and better than I’d hoped for. Thanks to my husband’s job (and my location-independent freelancing) we moved to Ireland for seven months when his company asked if there were any volunteers for a temporary contract job near Dublin. Not only did we get to live in another culture for over half the year, we got to travel to six other European countries. It was an incredible year.

  20. Erica says:

    What are three things you’ve done really well this past year?

    1. Visited 3 faraway friends in their cities just to see them. Typically I get to visit those kinds of friends when I’m traveling for work or some other reason. Not to just spend time in their company.

    2. Enrolled in the grad school program that I really WANTED to do, not the one I felt like I NEEDED to do.

    3. Learned a new skill (canning).

    Looking forward to 2013 and some new goals. Hope I can participate in #HolidayCouncil either way to help me set them!

  21. What a great post! I participated in the Holiday Council last year, but I’m struggling to find a way to pay for another year. That’s because I just left my full-time job to go back to school. Which brings me to the question I’ll answer…

    What is one dream you are working towards or have recently accomplished?
    I’ve just gone back to school to get a nursing degree so I can become a certified diabetes educator. I’ve had type 1 diabetes for 19 years and I’m working on taking my personal experience to help others live better, healthier lives too. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s been great so far!

  22. Erika says:

    “What will you do with your life, and how do you want that life to be lived?”

    That’s the big thing I’m trying to figure out… or at least, I’m figuring out that it’s not a big thing… it’s a daily thing… I think in our childhoods or even after, it’s this question that we think warrants only one answer… and we feel that we will do that thing forever once we discover it. But it’s too big of a question to ask for my whole life. So, I think nowadays, “What do I want to do now with my life and how?”

    But I still think there are benefits to long-term thinking and planning. Like, I think ultimately, I want to make an impact that exceeds my life… meaning, I have come up with something of use that extends beyond my own particular life. I also want to help and service others. I want to live my full potential or at least feel like I do it in a certain arena. I want to be an EXPERT on something… someone who knows the most about a particular subject (can be a very specific part of a subject). I want to lead by example. I want to inspire others. I want to publish books that are useful and wonderful. I want to love, love, love. I want to have a soulmate and I want to grow old with someone. I want to do a good job at documenting my life and the changes I’ve been through. I want to have a big, loving family. I want to travel to all 7 continents. I want to experience interesting and unique events. I don’t know that I want to own a home; if I do, I think I want to own multiple homes… but it’s hard for me to imagine tying myself down to one place… it feels very limiting… I know people think that renting is throwing money away, but I feel like it’s freedom… So, I’m not sure about that. Maybe if I have kids, I’ll think differently about that one because I believe in stability and consistency, plus the idea of “home” staying the same for my kids… a place where they return when they are adults and are flooded with memories (good ones!) of their childhoods.

    Long response! AHH! Anyway, I love your blog! It has quickly become one of my favorites. I love the questions you ask and just everything. :)

  23. paul says:

    Being the minimalist, I’ve always tried to live by two words: “be good”. It’s served me well so far.

  24. [...] very short!) to nearly 4000 words (approximately one long essay per month). The long essays–philosophical in nature, or recaps of major conferences–were among the most highly trafficked posts on the [...]

  25. [...] norms and life philosophies must be tailored to the [...]