[gallery] A little over a decade ago, I got up the nerve to leave a well-paying and successful position to attend graduate school full time. I was and still am proud of that decision—taking a dramatic step to follow my bliss. For a while, I felt I had “won”—that I had found my path to living my passion—to be honest, an item checked off the to-do list. I thought that once found, one’s path to bliss was easy to follow. Yet life throws curve balls that even the best in the game are barely prepared for. In the decade between graduate school and now, my life has been more of a mountain trek than a leisurely stroll—I got married, both of my parents passed away in a three-year period, I was diagnosed with a life-long and potentially debilitating chronic illness, I experienced job transitions, and had a childhood friend of more than 33 years diagnosed and eventually die from cancer. Not to mention a major surgery and the realization that following my bliss isn’t an easy, nor linear, path. My friend died in August—she was only 41; a month shy of our 42nd birthdays, which were only four days apart. I was home recovering from surgery when she died, so time slowed down—way down—and provided plenty of reflection. I first saw the Holstee Manifesto not long after she died. Always captivated by the marriage of the visual and verbal, I knew immediately I had to own a copy. (As a creative, finding out that the poster was a true letterpress print was icing on the cake.) The Manifesto embodied everything I knew to be true, especially when you’ve watched someone you love slip away. I ordered the Manifesto the next day. My life has not been dramatically transformed by the Manifesto—I’ve not quit my dull, but bill-paying, job, or travelled the world, or produced the Great American Novel. Yet, my life is daily inspired by it. One copy hangs in a hallway of my home—I face it every morning when I walk down the stairs to start my day. A great reminder of what I can choose rather than let wash over me. I also have it displayed on my office wall at the university where I work, anyone—including faculty, staff and students—walking down the hall can see it. Often people stop by to remark how they like it. This always makes me feel good, like I’ve made just a little bit of a difference by spreading an important message. I also realize I read the manifesto with different eyes today than I might have a decade ago. I’ve learned that a mindful acceptance of the present moment is crucial to understanding one’s next move in life. Evolution happens not always by fits and starts, but constant and deliberate movement, even if only an inch. For me, now—sliding into middle age—the power of the Manifesto is like a glacier, slow moving but leaving a lasting impact. A life can be dramatically altered in a day, but not always for the better. So by choosing the slower path to change versus the impetuous and impatient decisions of a decade ago, I find the richness in life that I didn’t necessarily know before. For me, the Manifesto’s message is not so much a call to action as it is a call to acceptance. Life is short. So choose what you love. Every single moment, of single every day for the rest of our lives, offers that choice, and the Manifesto urges us to choose wisely.

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