In the last days of winter with the beginning of spring on the horizon, how are you feeling?
As leaves start to slowly fill branches and bushes, the renewed cycle of seasons comes with the checkpoint marking a year since we all had to put our lives on hold with extreme caution at the forefront. Without rehashing the story we’ve been and are still living through, it’s safe to say it’s been a rough year across the board. Riding waves of ups and downs with an undercurrent of constant distress is taxing on our well-being; and it’s fine to admit that. We should admit to that.
It’s okay to not be okay, and once that’s acknowledged,
we can do the work to navigate through it.
We found ways to cope and live on, whether it was diving deeper into work, playing hours of Animal Crossing; thriving on social media, or doing absolutely nothing but make sure we were as safe as possible. These are all choices, signs that through it all we’re preserving at least some of the agency we have over ourselves; even while facing many situations that feel so far out of our control. You might feel pressured to be productive, but productivity is a tool of intentional living, not its driving force. Rest counts, too.
When we were in planning stages at the end of last year, the word intentional kept coming up. So, we decided it was the perfect term to carry with us in 2021 as we attempt to reach — if not a sense of “normalcy” (whatever that looks like) — then at the very least some better grip on our next moves. That’s where implementing a practice of intentional living comes in; and we don’t take that lightly. All the choices we’ve been making to simply get by have been intentional; so rather than write it off as a new age trend or feel guilty about taking care of yourself, really embrace it. Chances are you’ve been living intentionally anyway; it’s just another extension of self-love and self-care.
“Intentional living means understanding your fundamental beliefs and values and then actively living your life in line with those values.”
— “What It Means To Live Your Life With Intention,” The Good Trade
Living intentionally helps to keep us from checking out. It also encourages us to stay connected to ourselves and learn more about who we are at our roots. If there’s something we can certainly use after a year of events happening to us, it’s taking an active role in our lives and making decisions for ourselves.
— 3 STEPS TOWARD INTENTIONAL LIVING —
Ask yourself questions and don’t be afraid to answer
If you haven’t already made a habit of living intentionally, change can be scary. We’re evolving people. What suited us in the past may no longer serve us in the present; which applies to everything from certain flavors we find appealing to how we interact with others and how we’re treated. When facing the crossroads of whether or not you want something in your life, ask if it aligns with the person you are today and who you’d like to be in the future — instead of who you were yesterday. You just might find out a surprising fact about yourself, such as your favorite color changing from red to green. You won’t know until you ask without shying away from it.
Dare to say no
We tend to play up the act of saying yes to experiences, but saying no is just as important. It establishes boundaries. If someone offers you a hamburger because you used to like them so much, but now you’re a vegetarian, you aren’t going to accept it, right? If the taste doesn’t sit well on your palate, don’t even put it in your mouth. Say no when necessary. And if your no happens to change to a maybe or even a yes at a later date, you have the authority to make that call yourself.
Give yourself permission to live the life you want
So many factors come into play when we’re curating our lives. Giving yourself permission to “live as you choose” could sound a lot like shutting everyone else out to strike out on your own; however, that’s simply not the case. We live our own lives, but we aren’t the only component of it. If the life you want means jetting off on your own with no one to answer to, you’re allowed to have that. If the life you want means settling down with other people and being a caretaker or being the one taken care of, you’re allowed to have that, too.
Remember that the state of being is not a singular thing. We’re constantly changing, and life is constantly evolving. Don’t fear transformation. Adapt and keep moving forward. There’s no turning back now.
Are you curating a life with intention? What helps you to live intentionally?