Updated: Dec 10, 2019
They say those who can’t do, teach. Personally, I think those who teach, run out of time for their own work sometimes and just get lost in recharging, planning, running around, etc.
I teach (writing), and I’ve tried to be more mindful of taking the time to work on my own writing. Occasionally, I give an assignment to my students that I would like to do too. Sometimes I even do, which is something that perhaps I should share with them more often. Recently, I had them answer two questions about something we were doing. 1. What does it mean in general? 2. What does it mean specifically to you? I’ve considered and answered those questions about a lot of things lately in my mind, then finally wrote one out.
noun the fact of being deliberate or purposive. -PHILOSOPHY the quality of mental states (e.g., thoughts, beliefs, desires, hopes) that consists in their being directed toward some object or state of affairs.
I find this word increasingly intriguing to me. I find it also increasingly imperative to my life. As a former student-athlete, I have always kept in mind to do things with a purpose, or to act as if everything was on purpose.
Lots of things stem from this act for me. The leading of these is joy. Being deliberate, purposeful, intentional, leads to joy for me.
The core of me feels the most joy when I’m scheduled, either months in advance (in December looking at May) or last minute (in 15 minutes I’m going to do this), but still scheduled. Full calendars are full of pride for me. At this point in my life, I recognize what kind of schedule I need. Sometimes, I need to schedule breaks. Sometimes, I need to schedule workouts. Sometimes, I need to schedule time to see friends either in person or on FaceTime. Sometimes, I need to schedule a nap. Sometimes, I need to make sure I eat in general, but with family and/or friends is helpful too. Sometimes, I need to schedule a solidly productive amount of time. Regardless of what I need to schedule, it comes with intentionality.
I used to think I was the most productive completely secluded, which is not to infer that I don’t still love the productivity of solidarity. I feel put back together and ready to the best of my ability when I’m alone. I’ve just gotten better at balancing. Some days I need to be alone for hours on end. Some days I need to lay on the floor at a friend’s house while we listen to good and maybe sad songs. Some days, it’s nice to just go catch a movie with a familiar face and not have to talk much at all.
It’s important to have intentionality with your friends and family. In the time of “likes” and “loves” and such, I’ve found it far more important to take a small, but important moment to tell them congratulations, or that you’re happy for them or proud. Give them the words they deserve or maybe need. You know when something is important to those that are important to you. Equally as important, you may not love something the way they do, but you do understand loving something that much. You can always appreciate and encourage the love someone holds for their passion. People’s love for something, anything, matters. Let them know, even if you haven’t spoken in awhile.
I like seasons. Pre-season, in-season, post-season, off-season, they’re all very familiar to me (still a student and athlete in the game of life). Learn and perform, then learn from performance, it’s quite the cycle. My favorite book of the Bible is Ecclesiates. In particular, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” Ecclesiates 3:1.
Right now, I consider myself in the pre-season of further educational goals. In-season for self-care (surrounding myself with and giving more of myself to my extensive support system). Post-season on reflective solo trips. Off-season of being on-the-go.
All of these “seasons” fall under intentionality though. That’s the Big Season, the umbrella, the purpose of this season for me. Intentionally preparing for my next endeavor, intentionally and actively taking care of myself more to be ready and in routine with those processes. Intentionally making time for my family and friends, from in person dinners to scheduled phone calls. Intentionally making sure they know if I miss them and their wisdom, of all things. I’d rather ask a friend who cares about the subject than scroll through Google searches. Intentionally understanding everything I’ve done on trips to understand whatever I was looking for. Maybe it was just being on a journey. Maybe it was receiving the compliment, “I love the way you just sat and soaked this all in.” Intentionally telling myself this break coming up is not a reason to just go, go, go, to just be off for a moment to be able to appreciate other things. Small trips to someone else are just as vital as that plane ticket.
I have the intentionality to allow for everything else to flow, utmost joy, because as I’ve read recently, we should cling to joy, audacious and unbridled joy.