In 2010, Dimitra and I both read a book that inspired her ─ and thus inspired us ─ to write ‘manifestos’: lists of rules to keep in mind and to live our lives by.
Dimitra would often enthusiastically refer to her manifesto in the years that followed (“the Prague Diner Manifesto”, as she called it, for it was written while we were on holiday) and even got some of her friends friends to write their own.
I quickly forgot what I wrote in mine.
In part this was because I wasn’t ready for this. At 32, I felt a lot less my real age than I do now. I still struggled with life more than I admitted.
I also found it hard to make it genuine. I am a natural pleaser and thus it became about what I thought Dimitra wanted from me, rather than what I wanted for myself. Trying to please others isn’t necessarily a good character trait, and certainly not what others are looking for.
Nine years later, fate has made it so that I am on my own again.
As I tried and sometimes struggled to adapt to this new reality, I started to write things down on this blog. And then I found myself using these blog posts as reminders of what I really want, of what I believe I am meant to do.
And so I found myself thinking of those 2010 manifestos and ended up writing a new one: ten things I tend to forget, especially when I am not well, to regularly consult and to check big and small decisions against.
And here’s the thing: it helps. It might be psychology 101, but having a written list of things to check is a surprising simple way to not fall into bad habits.
Asking how someone is doing only because I am lonely? No, because I have promised myself not to do things disingenuously. Saying something just for the sake of doing so? No, because I agreed with myself to know when to shut up.
Dimitra and I occasionally discussed renewing our wedding vows. We never did ─ and then things happened. This is like renewing the vows I made to myself. I need this to move forward. It is great.