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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.

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Reader Comments (62)

@SciFi Dad, Actually, I pretty much do all that stuff, anyway. You know, as of about a week ago.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Jason, I totally wasn't. He's so full of it.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Komal, Love you, girl.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@F.emme, Thank you for delurking and wishing me a happy birthday!

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@RW, Nope. Not gonna do it.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

Just found your blog. Love your writing style, can't wait to go through your archives. Happy Birthday!

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

@Susan, Thank you and nice to meet you!

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

I love the manifesto. I may have to copy it. However, being a full 10 years older than you are, I have to say: you're not old. 35 is only on the beginning edge of middle. And yes, I think you've done very well. I know you've taught me a lot.

Hope your birthday was fantastic!

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHoosierGirl

Happy Birthday! As usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short. However, that doesn't make my well wishes for you any less. You're right where you should be at 35. You know what you're all about, are content but still curious about what the next phase of life will bring.

Thanks for sharing the manifesto. The highlight for me is being in charge of how we feel. We can all learn from you! :-) BTW, you look AMAZING!

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChrisor (ynotkissme)

@Faiqa, I like how you're still kicking ass and taking names. Love you too.

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKomal

Happy belated birthday, Faiqa! I hope that it was a day filled with total AWESOMENESS!


January 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDede

Looks like I missed this! Awesome manifesto, indeed. ;-)

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAl_Pal

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