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March 25, 2010


It was the mid-1970's.

It was around  age 19-20.

I discovered the following 23 verses of a manuscript by an unknown author,  called the "Desiderata". 

To me this fit perfect as a beginning, to my philosophy, and my road-map in life.

I was looking back through one of many notebooks I used to write in and found it. Wow, what a blast from the past! Today, it's largely forgotten or lost. Too bad. Much about who I am, how I became the person I am, is here.

Welcome back, to the 1970's... 

DESIDERATA, circa 1692...

I.  Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
II. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
III. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
IV. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
V. If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
VI. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
VII. Keep interested in your career, however humble, it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
VIII. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
IX. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
X. Be yourself.
XI. Especially do not feign affection.
XII. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is perennial as the grass.
XIII. Take kindly the counsel of years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
XIV. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
XV. But do not distress yourself with imaginings; many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
XVI. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
XVII. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here!
XVIII. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
XIX. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him/her to be.
XX. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
XXI. Not all is sham and drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a very beautiful world.
XXII. Be careful.
XXIII. Strive to be happy!

Manuscript found in old St. Paul’s church, Baltimore, dated 1692. Author unknown.


  1. Thanks Mary...

    For several years I've thought about this topic, but couldn't even recall the name of the manuscript. I found it the other day in one of my notebooks from back in the 70's. This was my road-map in life.

    What was ironic is how it conflicts with the map my parents used at the time, especially #5 - my mother constantly compared me to others, how they were so much "better and wiser" than me.

    #7, forget about it... "my career", had very humble beginnings, and I did cherish every moment... but again, major contradiction to what my parents believed.

    So how does one "ignore" one's parents when one is in one's 20's, and they still feel "the right" to judge, insult and shame their adult off-spring to "straighten up"? Or what?

    The "or what" is a falling out with family. Other consequences, "self-deprecation", "lowered self-esteem", "feelings of alienation and increased loneliness. Self Doubts!!!

    The upside - a life in self-imposed exile. Not a great way to live one's life, but necessary.

  2. Dear BobKat,
    This is very funny, because I was looking at my copy of this I swear Monday or Tuesday.

    For the author I have Max Ehrman copyright 1952. I have heard it is older, but i don't know where to find out for sure. I don't suppose it really matters!

    Ann T.

  3. Great read--thanks for sharing this one as I am not familiar with it.