One day you finally knew what you had to do,
and began...
— Mary Oliver, "The Journey"

I get asked, whether by myself or by other people, what I want to do with my life. And I get a lot of suggestions as to what I should do. And the list thus far says that I would be a good counselor, principal, teacher, physician, litigator, interior designer, DJ, contestant on Top Chef, writer, Senator, soccer mom, and whatever else. You can take bets right now if you want, because your guess is as good as mine and I'm betting I'll go through a couple of those.
 
But what do I want?

I want to live to be 100 and I want to see the day when having a mental illness is treated like the manageable condition that it is, when it is met with warmth and light instead of pushed into the darkness, when people don't die by suicide anymore, and everybody loves everybody else.

Really, though, to see the day where nobody has to feel like crap about anything.  
Not just mental illness. I mean feeling like crap about anything.
When our gut reflex is just to love people, and to start with that.
When "we're all doing the best we can" and "we all have blind spots" are automatic thoughts.
When every community is overwhelmingly supportive of any kind of struggle or hard thing.
When we don't have to keep our hard things in the dark anymore.

And whether I'll live long enough to see those days isn't promised to me.  

But it doesn't matter. Because either way, I will fight with my whole big and beating heart and with my soul all filled up with "yes!" and "let's go!" and gumption, and every other fiber in my being. And I will do that by trying to love people a little better myself, day by day. And I will do it in my community and school and city, and as a daughter and friend and a mama one day, to friends and to strangers. And I will keep telling my stories and I'll keep telling other people to tell their stories until my big heart is all done and tired and loses its voice and uses everything God gave it. And He'll be so happy He can barely stand it because that's exactly what He designed me and my big heart to do.

That's my promise to you and to my children and your children and the whole dang world.
 
It's a big promise. I don't know if I'll get there.
But that's what I want. To do with my life.
And who in the world am I not to try?