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Thirty-Five Years Old: A Manifesto

Faiqa birthdayI’m at this very moment sitting here thinking about when I was nineteen years old and I would say garbage like, “When I’m old... ya’ know, like, thirty-FIVE years old.”

Well, I’m here.  I’m... like, thirty-FIVE years old.

Most of what that nineteen year old girl imagined she’d be at thirty five existed as a construct of what others thought she would be.  She was an unpainted canvas with multiple artists just throwing paint at white space.

I?  Am the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel that has summarily dismissed the boring sections painted by Michaelangelo with the strokes of her very own brush.

Cherubs?  Not a fan.  Unicorns and samurais, however?  Completely awesome.

So, today, here I am in all my Sistine Chapel Ceiling of Samurais and Unicorns glory arriving at a major decision: I’m done reading self improvement and personal development books.*

Because you know who is as personally developed as they get?  This old gal right here.

I have read about habits that will make you effective, thoughts that will make you rich, winning friends, waking inner giants, being compassionate, how a man is as he thinketh, of letting go and holding on, about Mars, Venus and other planetary allegories, about the power of yesterday, tomorrow, today, now and, of course, all about how making posters of you hugging Oprah will get you a spot on the New York Times’ Bestseller list.

I get it.  I know it.  I am done with it.

This is who I am.  It's not going to get much better than this.  Not much, anyway.  Love me, or risk eternal peril.

Anyway, as I was taking stock of my life this morning, I realized that I’ve done “well” for myself.

Great husband? Check.

Skin still looks reasonably great?  Check.

Two amazing children?  Check, check.

Getting paid money (though modestly) to pursue my passion?  Check.

Proud owner of the most true blue completely awesome friends any person could claim as their own?  Check to the exponential.

Do you know what I realized I do NOT have, though?

A manifesto.

I mean, here I am, all these years calling myself “awesome” and I don’t even have a manifesto?  That is a serious oversight.  Something which I plan to rectify, right now.

Also, I’m not sure if you know, but you can’t call it a manifesto unless you use “we.”

A Manifesto of Awesomeness

by Faiqa

  1. We live with conviction.  This is not limited to faith, politics or social cause.  It extends and specifically applies to one's self: we operate in all endeavors with the highest regard for our personal integrity, compassion for others and conscientiously chosen values.

  2. We will not be held responsible for people who have been sleeping during lectures.  The conveyance of our personal conviction to those who love us or those that we love is no longer our responsibility.  They have had ample time to learn this about us.

  3. The above is not an ultimatum.  It is simply a statement of belief, those who choose to ignore that will continue to be treated with the same appropriate mixture of compassion and condescension.

  4. We may not always be right, but our day to day living proves that we are always trying to do right.  This is enough for us.  It is enough for us and it will heretofore be enough for the people in our lives.

  5. That?  Was kind of an ultimatum.

  6. Conscientious, correct and passionate use of the word “heretofore” will be employed as many times as is humanly possible ... heretofore.

  7. We are in charge of how we feel.  Everyone else is in charge of how they feel.  We will only claim responsibility for our actions, not necessarily for how people feel about our actions.

  8. Our apologies will come quickly after wrongdoing has been established, but no offerings of flesh will be made.  Conversely, we will not assign responsibility for how we feel to others, and we will assume that persons of interests are sincere when apologizing for their actions.

  9. It should be noted the above applies only to those apologizing to us within the context of their knowing the detailed and exact nature of their slight.  Also, we will never apologize for listening to Michael Jackson, Madonna, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga or Katy Perry.  Never.

  10. We are not fixers.  We will not fix others, and we will not fix ourselves.  Because we are already fixed enough.  We would also like to point out that we are not using the word “fixed” in the veterinary sense.

  11. We reserve the right to amend, delete, or add items to this manifesto as we see fit.  But, we most likely will not, because we generally get it right the first time.

And, so there you go.

I have a manifesto, now.

You have heretofore been warned.

*I will, however, be reading everything written by this personal development author because she happens to be one of my best friends, and that’s the rules of friendship. Plus, it's good.  You should read it, too.  Even if you have a manifesto, too.

Photo Credit:

Reader Comments (62)

Wow. 35 and still looking 20. I guess I can count myself lucky for having both met you and your lovely family, and also reading your magnificent writings. I must agree with you that if you feel content being who you are, then life is good. Happy birthday young lady.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Oltman

Oh, you'll change. Anyone with a brain will always learn and grow. But you absolutely have the right idea about not reading self-improvement books. I find they usually contain a nugget or two of wisdom buried in a pile of tedious prose that is, at best, mental masturbation and at worst, padding designed to sell a book.

Happy Birthday. This is a wonderful gift you've given yourself. You're at a really good age, and in a perfect mental place for it. Enjoy. It gets even better.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

So now that I have a manifesto where do I go to get a pedifesto? Is it within walking distance?

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwhall

God, 35-year olds are so full of themselves. This is why I should just stick to dating 19-year olds.

Happy birthday!

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

Happy, happy birthday!! May the new year be the best yet!! :)

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

Wow, 35 huh? Never would have guessed you were older than me, even if it is just about 6 months. ;)

Happy Birthday!

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHockeymandad

Happy birthday for the 40 billionth time.

35 was a fun year. I think. I dunno, I am lucky if I remember yesterday anymore.

What's the difference between a manifesto and manifest destiny? I mean, like, they have, ya know, the same word in both? Wait, don't answer that. I want to be all comfy and ready to fall asleep in my tiny desk chair before you answer that.

Wish I was there to help you celebrate today. Love you.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPoppy

To make this a valid manifesto, you have to have followers, thereby making the we relevant.

Heretofore, we concur.

(Did I do that right?)

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Britt

Can you imagine how awesome a Samurai Unicorn would be?

Happiest of birthdays to you!

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave2

Happy birthday! And what a wonderful manifesto! I hope to write one myself in a few years when I hit 35... :)

Here's to a year of non-apologetic bubblegum pop music!

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentershiny

Happy Birthday Lovely. I love your manifesto. Being one and a half years older than you, I would add to it a little, but just a little, cuz I'm a little older than you. ;)

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Sugarpants

Happy Birthday, Faiqa! Aren't you glad you got that manifesto business out of the way?

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn (@kat1124)

***standing and applauding***

So very well stated. Heretofore, I shall be adopting aspects of this beautifully written manifesto as my own. ; )

Here's to turning 35.
Happiest of Birthdays to you.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnabelle

Happy Birthday, Beautiful Faiqa!
Heretofore, that is how I will address you. Because it's true. You're beautiful inside and out - and nothing beats that!

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSybil Law

Damn, I'm wayyyy older than you and I don't have a manifesto. Now I feel like an underachiever.

Have a Happy Birthday!!

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Damn, I'm wayyyy older than you and I don't have a manifesto. Now I feel like an underachiever.

Have a Happy Birthday!!

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Happy, happy, happy birthday! You know what they say...35 is the new 34. :)

PS - I had a manifesto once, but I got it cleared up with the proper medication.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterB.E. Earl

Oh my dear Faiqa, I wish you nothing but the best of birthdays. Happy, happy birthday. The world is so much better because you are in it. I'm so glad you were born!

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

Well said and well done. I hope you have a great day and a great year! Let's hear it for personal growth.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Happy birthday! My sister's birthday is today, too! Oh, and Jimmy Page's. You are in good company, eh?

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercagey

Your manifesto is so much more succinct, positive and non-suicide-inducing than mine.

I hope your birthday is everything it should be, plus an extra bit of awesome and a smidge of fricking amazing.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZoeyjane

Having 3 different ways of wishing you a happy birthday is pretty cool. Social and online communication rule!

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermartymankins

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Faiqa, MyPROU. MyPROU said: Thirty-Five Years Old: A Manifesto | Native Born: So, today, here I am in all my Sistine Chapel Ceiling of Samur... [...]

Happy Birthday Faiqa.

That's a very ambitious manifesto, although I have no doubt you will adhere to it.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSciFi Dad

This was FABULOUS! And funny, and thoughtful, and self-aware.

Have a very happy birthday. 35 is a great age to be.

And I can't believe for a minute that you were a bitch in high school.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Happy Birthday

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKomal

Hello, Faiqa! I used to lurk here and so happy I found you (well, you blog, to sound less stalkerish) in time to wish a Happy Happy Birthday! Here's to many more :)

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterF.emme

No, but you should probably apologize for having Michael Jackson in your manifesto...

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRW

@Terry Oltman, You had me at "still looking 20." Thank you.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Megan, Right, I definitely meant that I have enough knowledge to continue to grow on my own... at least for now.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@whall, Ask Adam. He's the expert on pedis.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Avitable, "Stick to"... I don't think it's very nice to take advantage of mentally damaged teenagers.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Becca, Thanks!

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Hockeymandad, So, you're saying I'm immature? Awesome. ;-)

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Faiqa, I meant "switch to". And isn't every teen mentally deficient?

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

@Poppy, I enjoyed all 40 billion times. And, you cannot ask me a question like that and not expect me to answer because omgee my head WILL explode... though I fully suspect you already knew the answer and were being clever...
Manifesto is a public statement of intention/belief usually offered by a political party/movement. Manifest Destiny was an excuse to rob indigenous people of their right to inhabit the lands of their ancestors.

That last sentence may or may not be lacking objectivity on my part.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Miss Britt, You SO did it right!! Yay!!

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Dave2, I mean, the possibility just makes me want to weep sweet tears of joy....

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@shiny, Oh, whatever, you are waaay older than me. I refuse to believe any different.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Karen Sugarpants, Thanks and I appreciate you making me feel like a youngun by pulling rank. Priceless.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Kathryn (@kat1124), Yes, I am... I don't know how I made it this far without one.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Annabelle, We should start a band.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Sybil Law, I will heretofore accept this moniker and thank you kindly.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Lisa, All the cool middle age kids are doing it... you better get going...

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@B.E. Earl, The itching is driving me crazy.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@hello haha narf, Love you, lady and thank you.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Rachel, Thanks!

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@cagey, Definitely.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Zoeyjane, Thanks, it was... it even had a little fabulous on top.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@martymankins, I appreciate all the ways you did... thank you!

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

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