Aspirations are the only words worth living by because you are living up to then, but not living for them. You are still making choices yourself.
I try to act in line with who I want to be. I take that action and let go of the results. I do that because I can’t control the choices other people make and that always influences the outcome. Sometimes this is tiring. The temptation is to do what is easy and sometimes I do that because I’m certainly not perfect.
I try not to be pessimistic. My family indoctrination counts change as always dangerous rather than an opportunity. If someone helps, they always want something from you. If something could go wrong, it will. None of this promotes feelings of happiness or trust. I decided instead to give everyone and every situation a baseline of trust and let actions and events move that level up or down.
I choose to be independent, relying first on myself and only then on trusted people or social or government supports. “Better to plan for the worst and hope for the best.” My sense of belonging to groups is minimal and measured.
I care about justice, equity and fairness. I don’t believe in scarcity. For example, raising service workers to a living wage isn’t a referendum on my wages, my profession or my life choices. I’m a “progressive.”
Finally, I care about life. Sometimes fishermen need to take a hit to save the salmon. Life, living things and the planet all have intrinsic value beyond their usefulness to humanity. When we forget that, the ecosystem will correct for our hubris.