“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
I remember sitting against a tree at summer camp listening intently to a counselor who, with her guitar, taught me a song that I still sing to myself every day. It put a three-line ancient rabbinical teaching to a simple tune:

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me?" When I was sixteen, I decided to accept myself and to come out of the closet. I recognize that I am one of the most privileged gay people in this country and that, as of today, gay Americans do not have full equal rights. I want to use the education and the many gifts I have been provided to fight for the same rights, privileges, and protections my siblings and peers enjoy. I want to die an equal citizen of this country.

"But if I am only for myself, then what am I?" Nearly three billion people live on less than $2 per day. I want to use the tools and strategies that powerful corporations employ to address global poverty. Our world is far too rich with resources for billions to go hungry.

"And if not now, when?" Two years ago, a falling telecom cable struck my head and nearly took my life. I don't know where I'll be standing when the next cable falls. That cable, and that childhood song, constantly remind me:

Today is the most important day in the world. I will live it with extreme purpose.

— Brian Elliot