When I first heard the term “intentional living,” I instantly thought it was nothing new, that it was just “living simply” repackaged with a shinier bow and fancier wrapping paper.
I have come to realize that it is much more and, surprise, surprise, it is a philosophy of living which I have always embraced although, truth be known, I didn’t always realize that fact. It is about quality of life, and it begins within each of us.
What is intentional living?
We can’t have this discussion without knowing what living an intentional life means.
From mimalistathome.com, I found this definition:
“Intentional living is being in a constant state of awareness of your actions and thoughts, and what does and does not coincide with who and where you want to be. People who live intentionally wake up with a purpose everyday: crafting the life they deserve by taking action today. A lot of people today live life on “auto-pilot”, or mindlessly go about their daily routine and respond to stimuli with the least amount of thought.
“Intentional-livers don’t go about purposelessly—they don’t do anything impulsively or thoughtlessly. They’re aware of how they respond to others and the world because their beliefs, goals, and values guide them every day. Intentional people are always evaluating whether their actions or patterns of behavior reflect their objectives and values.”
But who am I, and what do I want?
The key to living intentionally, then, is in knowing who you are, as a functioning human being, and what is truly important to you. Only in knowing these things can one begin to mold one’s life into a manifestation of those values.
And therein lies the rub, as they say. Who am I? What do I want? Finding the answers to those questions has taken me a lifetime. The answers were buried in my subconscious, sometimes just below the surface, sometimes so deep I barely felt their existence. Finding the answers to those questions was crucial if I was to live a better quality of life.
Raised contrary to my subliminal desires
It’s an interesting process, growing up, in the United States. We are bombarded by messages, from parental figures, from advertising, from peers, telling us to strive for a better life, and better life is often synonymous with owning a home, having a high-paying job, driving nice cars, the white picket fence, two car garage, happiness in the suburbs. You make money to purchase things, or to provide a better life for your children, or both, and if you don’t have enough money, you go into debt, and then you work harder to pay off the debt, and on and on it goes, when it stops nobody knows, and in the proverbial blink of an eye, it is retirement time, forty years have passed by, and you look back over the landscape of your life, and what . . . ?
That’s how I was raised and no, I’m not calling out my parents for raising me that way. It was perfectly normal to do so, and they did their best based on what they knew and believed . . . but . . .
I know better, and I believe there is more, and I suspect, as I look back, I have always known.
It is so easy to get trapped
I played the game. No one forced me to do so. I began paying a home mortgage the year my father died, me being twenty years of age. I have owned twelve homes since then. I have owned fast cars and shiny things. I have had years where I barely cracked twenty-five thousand in earnings, and there were years I made six-figures, and no matter how much I made, it never seemed to be enough, and the more I purchased, the more I purchased, the more I purchased, and not one damned bit of it made me happy. In fact, most of it, the homes, the glittery possessions, all were just trappings, symbols for others to see, symbols which said “the kid has made it, he played the game well and here is the proof.”
I literally spent decades being what others wanted me to be, doing things others needed me to do.
And, I knew it, and did nothing to change it, until the day, shortly after my fifty-seventh birthday, when I woke up and realized that my restlessness of soul could no longer be denied or silenced. I had to change my approach to life, or I would die an unhappy man.
To be continued . . .
If you like what you see, and want to see more quality content, you can become a patron of As We Wonder by following this link www.patreon.com/aswewonder and pledging what you can. Pledges begin at $3 per month, and the money is used to help us produce this content.