Live with intention. It's a phrase I've internalized over the last year and a half or so, but I rarely go into detail about what it actually means to me. Perhaps it's because those closest to me see the evidence of how I live my life and maybe my ideals speak for themselves somewhat, but I think it's important be explicit. My hope is to inspire others to adopt this mantra, but at the very least I'd like to share this idea about which I am so passionate.
As mentioned previously, my life went through a whole slew of changes a couple of years ago. Before The Change (what I'll call that definitive moment of separating from my ex-husband and moving out to begin my authentic journey), I spent a large chunk of my time sitting in front of a television. This was the easiest way to pass time with someone with whom I didn't have much else in common. Most of our activities involved going out to eat, planning which movie we'd see that weekend, or awaiting our favorite shows on TV. We had certain shows we looked forward to each night of the week. It was fine for a while, but I began to have this growing feeling like I was missing out on, well, life. I didn't want to look back on my life in 20 years and say, "Well I saw every episode of [insert show], so I feel really accomplished!" This growing desire to get more out of life caused a rift in my marriage, and was one factor that ultimately led to its demise.
So what does my life look like now? Completely different, to be honest. I have actively sought personal and professional development, and I have increased my self-awareness with the help of programs and personality tests (I highly recommend Strengths Finder and Instinctive Drives, among others). I know myself better than ever before, and I know what I want out of life. I don't settle anymore. Life is so fleeting and precious, and we should make the most out of it. That's not to say I have turned into a narcissistic jerk who only cares about making myself happy. It's quite the opposite, actually. I thrive on helping people, whether it's volunteering my time, acting as a sounding board for ideas and advice, or just being a shoulder to cry on. I feel truly connected to the important people in my life. We have challenging and philosophical discussions beyond, "Who shot JR?" and our lives are enriched. When it comes to awesome projects on Pinterest, I actually set aside time to do some of them, rather than just sitting in front of my computer and pinning away. Having the ability to get outside and be active is a privilege I cherish, even if some days that means just a walk with my dog, Coconut. I listen to audiobooks (or NPR) during my commute to and from work in order to learn something every day instead of just listening to music to fill the void. I challenge myself with new ideas because this message seems so true.
I feel like I've woken up and checked back in to my life. I am still on an incredibly winding journey to find my purpose and achieve my goals, but I'm making progress. Of course it isn't always easy. I have to be vulnerable by putting myself out there and pursuing my passions, but as Brené Brown will tell you, this is the only path to true happiness. My support system is incredible, filled with friends and mentors who share wisdom on a daily basis and help me on my journey. Farnoosh Brock recently shared this powerful quote by Oprah: "You have to find what sparks a light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world."
What about you? Are you being an active participant in your life? Are there changes you keep telling yourself you'll make "when you have time" or "when the time is right?" Well, the time is now. While it may not be the path of least resistance, I assure you it is the path of most rewards. Get out there and Carpe the Diem. Make the most out of this life. How will you choose to illuminate this world?