In this time of both quiet and noise, there’s some things I’d like to remind you of.
I want you to remember that while you can’t pluck the stars from the sky, you can build the infrastructure to reach them.
There are beautiful contraptions that need to be built to transport you from here to the starry sky of your dreams. But you may need to invent them, first.
Pick the star, and then unroll your map. Allow yourself to make new discoveries along the way.
I want you to remember that vulnerability is not a hall pass.
Being vulnerable and open is an act of courage when paired with steps toward change.
The act of admission in itself might absolve your conscience or an obligation to a higher being, but if you want things to change — in life, in society — we all have to work for them, both individually and collectively.
You can share your confessions on Instagram, in therapy, to a significant other — but there’s a difference between living with a mess and actively cleaning out the hall closets and figuring out what needs to go.
I want you to remember to honor the process, and don’t force an outcome.
Creativity is a sacred act. Honor the process as you bring your work into the world. Do so with intention and also with great fun. Play is an act of love for yourself and your work.
Know that the outcome of your writing or your art is out of your control: money, fame — it’s irrelevant in the act of creation.
Separate art and commerce as much as you can: create, and then learn how to sell what you’ve created, not the reverse.
Otherwise, you’re not honoring the work, you’re twisting it into something you think the marketplace wants, which will leave you feeling empty and probably broke.
Don’t quit your day job. Depending on your art to feed you will make you bitter and hungry. Find another way. Use your creativity, and seek advice from others who have come before you.
I want you to remember that the marketplace doesn’t know what it wants.
No one knows anything.
Find other strategies to pay the bills so you can be free to follow what moves you instead of what you think moves the masses.
If you have means, give to those who don’t, and participate in the fight for better safety nets and social structures.
Our world will never value poets the way we value bankers — unless we change our values.
I want you to remember that no risk means no reward.
No one ever made a bold new piece of art out of fear. No one ever touched the hearts of others while carefully guarding their own. No one changed industries with a “safe” idea.
But be careful where you place your bets: you only have so many chips.
If you lose, take a lap. Luck won’t always be on your side.
Don’t numb yourself to the pain of failure and disappointment. Feel everything, but don’t hold on to that negativity. It’s easy to turn away and to flip on reality TV or a mindless distraction: it’s hard to do the work of acceptance and moving on.
Regardless, you’ll always have a home on the page. Return there.
I want you to strategize and create and build and learn and innovate because designing your life is a gift — not a burden.
Wander down the pathways of your life with curiosity, and learn and acquire the knowledge to read your compass and readjust your course when necessary.
There’s no harm in getting lost, especially if you discover something new.
Don’t despair that you’re off-course, instead pinpoint where you want to go and work steadily until you’ve found your way there.
I want you to remember that while reflection is found in rest, virtue is found in action.
Take the time you need to confront what arises in the silence. Meditation can be a powerful force of good.
But what will you do with the things that come out of that silence? Action is the only way we can bring about change and tip the scales toward justice.
Lessons learned but not applied might as well not have been learned in the first place. Ignorance is bliss, but ignorance is often a privilege. Only knowledge can unlock consciousness.
I want you to remember to be irrationally ethical and to surround yourself with people you want to become.
We adopt the habits, mindsets, and opinions of those we spend the most time with.
Look around. Are you surrounded by people with high integrity? Do they do good for the world while doing well for themselves, in whatever ways they’re able?
Life is too short to spend it only looking out for yourself.
Leave a quiet legacy of doing good. The ripple effect you’ll have will amplify your impact.
I want you to remember that you don’t know everything, but neither does your fear.
You could die tomorrow: but if you spend today worrying, have you actually lived?
Find ways to fill your day with joy. Make peace in advance with whatever the universe hands you: good or bad. Take the grief and loneliness and happiness in stride, and feel every shade of your feelings.
Then, let it go.
Life is only lived in the present moment — have you forgotten?
-Things I Want You to Remember: A Letter to Myself