Keep your ears and eyes open - it'll strike when you least expect it.
I never thought of myself as the kind of person who would live by a "mantra". I'm not even sure I know what the word means. My understanding of it is something, a phrase, that you live by. Something you constantly see to remind yourself of the kind of person you want to be - or how you want to live your life. Well, I stumbled across mine one day in 2016 and little did I know it would - quite literally - become a part of me forever.
Keep Your Eyes Open
I was in a weird place. At a job doing something I hated. I loved the people, but hated the work. This was another difficult thing to deal with. As I toiled during my day-to-day, I began listening to the musical Hamilton. It spoke to me - more than anything ever has, to be honest. A group of minorities - some of them immigrants themselves - performing a hip-hop musical based on the life of one of the most influential founding fathers to ever live. That alone had me hooked. I loved the idea of minorities playing white men - and rapping, nonetheless.
So I started listening. Started learning the lyrics. Started looking into the stories Lin-Manuel Miranda wove throughout the musical - and I fell in love. It was stuck in my head every day.
Keep Your Ears Open
As I continued to listen, there were a few songs that began to stand out. Then a few lines from each of the songs. I got more and more into a few of the songs I loved. They began to conjure up emotions as I began to draw parallels between the lyrics and my life. That's when it clicked.
History Has Its Eyes On You
Accept Your Place
When I realized what my mantra was, I was in a weird place. Almost a dark place. I didn't like the person I was becoming, and I knew there was only one way out. I, then, quit my job, dumped my girlfriend at the time, began performing improv - and really turned my life on it's head. In a good way. In the best way.
The line, History Has Its Eyes On You, is a central theme throughout the musical, but means so much more. To the characters. To the musical. To me.
This line filled up something in me that was missing. I had been floating in a proverbial sea of emptiness. It's so weird to think a simple line in a musical can change my entire outlook/approach to life - but it's true.
Have the Courage to Change
So - okay - I've got my mantra, now what? Well, get it tattooed on your body of course!
Some might say that could be a drastic decision. I didn't see it as that. Whenever I began to tell my idea to someone, tears would form in my eyes. Partly because it is such an emotional statement, but partly, too, because it meant so much to me during such a strange time of my life.
Now I'll have it forever. To remind myself that there is always a way out. But, more importantly, that there is something more important you're meant for. You might not know what it is yet - but you're made for something more important. Because history has its eyes on you.
There is no sure-fire way to develop something to live by. Things come and go. Ideas seed, and die. You simply forget things. What I ask is to be more present during times of struggle. See how you respond - and how you overcome. Then, once that part of your life is over, revisit how you got through it. That was my process - and I'm now the happiest I've ever been.