I’ve got this sneaky suspicion that if I’d like to, I can change the world. I come by it pretty honestly—I was raised by idealists, affirmed by intellectuals, and empowered by activists. And at 26, I am still strongly attached to this conviction, which so many of us release as we get a little older and grow battered by the knocks and disappointments of the world.
But if I’m going to say that about myself, if I am going to believe in my abilities and hope to influence others, I’m going to need to make some more intentional choices again with my life.
You don’t have to be loud to bring about change. But you do have to show up.
You have to go where change is needed, and you have to insert yourself where change is being pursued. Something convenient and known isn’t going to put me in the midst of the kind of conversations I’d like to be having with the kind of people who can help make a difference.
I can’t say I’ve been “gifted” with a fresh start, but I have been handed one. And I don’t want to waste it. Just because I don’t have the copilot I thought I would doesn’t mean I stopped wanting to see where this plane could go.
Those are the kinds of thoughts dancing in my head these summer evenings as I walk out of the office, grab a beer on an outdoor patio and count down the days till I move into my new place. This is where the next chapter is headed for me.
Katy’s Manifesto for (the rest of) her 20’s
• Show up. Show up where it’s loud and you know no one but believe in what is happening. Believe in the people you’ll find there.
• Trust the longings of your heart and don’t settle for less.
• Write your freakin’ thoughts down. The real ones. Daily.
• Finish your book. No more excuses. No more Netflix episodes.
• This is not your “start your family” decade. Let it go. Do some work you’d like to tell them about someday when they’re tearfully wondering if they’ll ever be loved, ever find their way, ever be able to stop the injustice they’re confronted with.
• Travel again. You’ve been saying you’d do it for years. You’re a more grounded and connected person when you’ve recently seen the world from another perspective.
• Invite people in who make you feel a little unsure, a little insecure. You’ve learned they’re good for you.
• Trust your sexiness. Don’t feel like you have to prove it. Your story isn’t “hers,” but that doesn’t make your story less alluring.
• Don’t say yes to things you don’t want to do. People love you…or they suck. Either way you shouldn’t pander to them.
• Trust that God knows what he’s about. Yes, he’s a total wild card, and yes, he’ll let literally anything happen to you. But he does love you something fierce. And he did make you for something.
Katy Johnson lives, dreams, writes, and edits in a messy, watercolored world. She’s a 26 year old, discovering her hope, her longings, and the wild spaces in her own heart. Her favorite creative project right now is called The Someday Writings, and someday, she may let those writings see the light of day. For now, she shares her thoughts here.