Crafting my Life Manifesto

It’s Thursday, and so I’m Crafting my Life! Last week I wrote about tribes, and how I’ve found mine. This week I am going to make a statement about what I stand for, and what I hope that my tribe stands for. Please understand, I am not looking to exclude anyone. I am sharing my Truth, and I hope that at least part of it resonates with you.

My Manifesto

I believe that parenting my children is one of the most important things I will ever do. In order to parent, I need to spend time with my children and relate to them on their level. I also need to carefully consider my decisions, and try to make the best choices I can. And I recognize that what is right for me may not be right for someone else.

I believe in balance. I have a family, I have hobbies, I engage in volunteer work, and I have career goals. I am not any one thing, and I would like my life to reflect that. This does not mean that I get all of the time to myself that I would like, or that I am free to pursue all of my interests. It does mean that I can set my priorities and focus on more than one area at a time. Balance may never be completely achievable, but it is a worthy pursuit.

I believe in flexible, family-friendly work. Working full-time is a valid choice. Staying home full-time is a valid choice. So is working part-time, working from home, or setting up an alternative schedule. Policies like flex-time, job-sharing, and maternity and parental leave are valuable in creating a workplace that honours workers as whole people. Work, family, and outside pursuits do not have to be either-or. And I think we need to advocate for better policies if we want them.

I believe in dreams. There is practical value in pursuing the things that you really want. There is no particular magic involved, no leap of faith or belief in spiritual forces necessary. By engaging in dreaming you are simply letting yourself fly free, to imagine what could be. Yes, there is dumb luck and unfairness in life. But there is also a whole world full of people who have worked hard and made things happen. I see no reason why I cannot be one of those people.

I believe in passion. When you find that thing that you could do all day, every day, it’s a gift. Pursuing your passion is not silly or vain. Passionate people who are committed to their goals are the ones who change the world, and this change benefits all of us. Your passion doesn’t have to be your career, or your whole life’s work. But it is absolutely worth following, whatever it looks like.

I believe in community. Whether that community is a family, an organization, a group of friends, or a virtual space. We need each other. We gain value from sharing our lives with others. Not everyone will be a perfect fit for us, and we may not belong in every community we encounter. As we find and cultivate the communities that we do belong in we are making a better (and friendlier) world.

I believe in creativity. By acting creatively we can make a tangible difference in our lives. It is our chance to step outside of our normal world, where we spend long periods in front of a computer screen or clean up toys 47 times a day. We make things. We experience flow and encounter the tangible world. We play. And we re-discover parts of ourselves that we’d forgotten were even there.

I believe in simplicity. Our world is very consumer-driven and go-go-go. This is not all that good for us, or for our planet. It results in hectic lives and the abuse of our natural resources. I am not about to ditch my suburban home and go live off-the-grid in the wilderness. But I do seek to set priorities, understand what matters, and evaluate the impact of my actions. Time is money, so spending less money is one way to gain more time.

I believe that change is hard. Really stinking hard. It’s one thing to say, “Oh, yes, I want to follow my dreams and live a passionate and balanced life.” It’s quite another thing to actually do it. I do not roll with the punches well. I like order and routine and predictability and tradition. Deciding that I want to re-invent myself is not a decision I make lightly. But sometimes, you have to do the hard thing.

I believe in optimism. There was a time when I was very bogged down in what I ‘ought’ to do and who I ‘ought’ to be. That thinking really doesn’t help anyone, least of all myself. Being miserable because an internet stranger may not like me or because I didn’t get through the day’s to-do list does not help me improve next time. It’s OK to look on the bright side. And I have found that by doing so I am better able to motivate myself and get things done.

I believe in kindness. Because kindness changes everything.

I believe in the value of this space. In the value of sharing my journey with you, and hearing about your journeys in return. This has been an incredible gift to me. Know that if you come here I consider you a part of my tribe and a part of my community. And I am so, so grateful for it.

What about you? Do you have any statements of Truth to share? Please do!

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  1. You go! Love this post, really truly love it! I kept nodding as I do so often when I read your blog! Great stuff!

    .-= Mel´s last post ..Song of the day =-.

  2. I second this completely… now if I can just pull myself together… 🙂 I’ve been all over the place since August – waaaay behind on blog reading (which is why I missed your original idea to do this CML thing), writing in general, and also interacting with the world. This post of yours is such a terrific reminder for me to plug back in. Thank you!
    .-= Jessica – This is Worthwhile´s last post ..Balancing act =-.

  3. Hear hear. I agree – do what works for you but do it authentically!

    I’ve made huge gains in acheiving a series of goals – got married, bought half of a house in Vancouver, renoed it the way we like it, adopted a baby – things could not have happened more perfectly(mind you very very late in life for these types of things). It was like as soon as I knew what it was, achieving it was totally possible. However my big trial relates to career and what it is that I want to do next. I find figuring this out much harder that perhaps it might be to get there if I knew what it was 😉 Keep up the great work!
    .-= Harriet Glynn´s last post ..Mama Bear =-.

  4. Love it! Where to I sign up?
    .-= Jon´s last post ..Happy 40th Birthday, ArtsConnect! =-.

  5. Mama Rissa says:

    I love, love, love, love everything you wrote. Weirdly enough, it made me emotional. Is that normal?!? 🙂
    Anyway, I love it because I agree with it wholeheartedly, and also because it reminds me to keep on pursuing these things. Especially optimism. I’m in a weird place in my life right now and it’s like I literally think in negative remarks alldaylong and I’m SICK of it. I believe it’s true that if I choose to dwell on the negative, I will actually only serve to create more negativity. I want to remember to be optimistic, even in this crazy season of my life, because that’s the only way I’ll make it out alive (emotionally speaking).
    Thank you and bravo!

  6. That is pretty awesome. You are making me think.
    .-= Capital Mom´s last post ..Torment =-.

  7. Loving this series. And the name rocks, “Crafting my Life”…I see big things happening from it. And I relate to all of what you wrote this time. Having multiple interests and striving to balance it all is a big one for me. Thanks for sharing your list, it got my wheels turning as usual.
    .-= AmberDusick´s last post ..Yum Placenta! Or, are you really gonna eat that? =-.

  8. Yay! (especially change is hard and optimism — which means it’s okay that our pumpkins didn’t get carved on time).
    .-= Allison´s last post ..***************What gets carved away =-.

  9. I love your blog!! I subscribed to your feed, can’t wait to see what’s to come. I’m also an engineer turned mom, only I work part-time. Since the birth of my son I have really seen the value in being home with him, before I had him I was sure I’d want to work full-time.
    .-= Rachel´s last post ..Top Organic Baby Food Choice =-.

  10. Love this! I’m going to sit down tomorrow afternoon and try to work out something like this for myself. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  11. I agree that change can be really hard.

    It’s one of those cheesy things though – I find that having the right attitude about tackling changes (an adventure! growing my abilities! cliche stuff like that) really helps me a lot.

  12. Amen to all of it, Amber. Getting clear about what is important makes all of one’s energies and juices flow. So much is possible when a person focuses and gets behind what is important to them. You do such a beautiful job of consciously crafting your life and we get to read about it and be your supportive witnesses. Your example is very powerful. Who knows what kind of a ripple effect you are causing? Going by the response, it’s a big one. Hurray for you and all of those who chose to take their lives into their own hands, Hurray, I say!

  13. I don’t know what to say, Amber. You said it all! As for myself, I have to work on the “optimism” part of your list.
    .-= Francesca´s last post ..Creative eco-[non]packaging =-.

  14. Great post. Most of these points I’ve working on for years, several I’ve only begun to hone this last year. Becoming a mother is a catalyst.
    .-= Mon´s last post ..The Great Mind Decluttering Experiment…. phase 2 =-.

  15. So at first when I started reading this I thought, like Summer, that I need to do this for myself too. But the more I read the more I realised that you’ve pretty much summed up everything, so succinctly and beautifully. Sure, I’ll still do the exercise for myself but I could definitely print this list and keep it too as it really is full of truths.

    Also loving the Crafting My Life theme (and title) because I’m pretty much walking the same path at the moment (minus the layoff, but still).

    Thanks for sharing Amber.
    .-= @childbearing´s last post ..Wordless Books: Flotsam =-.

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