A lot of you have asked about this intentional living I speak of, well, I first want to define it and then, I’ll explain why it works for me.
What is it?
Here is the official definition of intentional living :
Any lifestyle based on an individual or group’s conscious attempts to live according to their values and beliefs. These can include lifestyles based on religious or ethical values, as well as coaching, personal transformation, and leadership training.
After reading that, I don’t blame you if you stop reading here but, before you go, let me just say it’s not some weird religious cult attempt. For me, it’s about your life choices. Writer, Joshua Becker talks about steps one can take to help with your intentional living. These steps are summarized as:
- Realize that life is made of choices. Attitudes and decisions do not have to be determined by our past but can be chosen.
- We are surrounded by culture. We can determine its direction and see if we want the same or not.
- Know who we are and what we want (to do, communicate and contribute). Give time to our passions.
With all that said, I do believe that life is a string of choices and that I won’t be defined by my past, however, I can look back and see what choices I made that projected me to where I am now.
Life Around You
We are surrounded by so much culture, so much life, all kinds of experiences. Make sure that what you’re doing now is fulfilling to who you truly feel you are as a person. Make sure the people you choose to have around are aligned with those values and will challenge you because, at the end of the day, you as a person know if you are feeling truly fulfilled. Or, if you are making excuses for why you are staying… Staying in a job you hate, a place that feels mediocre, a relationship that gives you pain or in contribution with a cause that makes you question things. Remember, everything about life is a series of choices, that you have control over.
I know that absurdism is a thing. However, I do believe that one-beings choices affect the world. Your choices make ripples. Ripples become waves.
So, what does my intentional life look like…Well, since moving to Colorado, my husband Jeffrey and I have started this journey together. Our values are simple. We try our best to live a simple, sustainable, plant-based life. To simply put it, we try not to over-consume.
Jeffrey and I have a beautiful three-bedroom home together, where we share it with his daughter and our two wild doggies. The space we have is more than we will ever need and, we are blessed to have a space that we can grow into. The house is filled with minimal but beautiful items that have been thrifted or gifted. They make our house feel like home.
We try our best to only purchase from ethical/sustainable brands or, we will also find some goodies at local thrift stores. Everything we have in our lives are intentional items. Yes, this means clothing as well. We only have the items we need and, we only shop when we need something. Every season we will go through and examine the items we aren’t using. These items will get donated to our local Goodwill or up-cycled. Every item we have in our lives brings joy and has meaning.
When gift-giving holidays come around, we write out lists of things we need. They will be items that you want/need but might not necessarily get for yourself. This gives your friends and family a chance for them to spoil you but within your values. With a kid in the picture, it’s a little different. We give Jeff’s daughter four different gift categories:
- One gift will be something you want
- Another, something you need
- Third, something to wear
- Lastly, something to read
This helps a lot. There is a limit to the gifts and a logical approach to what she decides. It also makes her think, is this “Stranger Things Funko-Pop” really what I want?!
When it comes to food, we eat plant-based. Why, well that’s a whole other blog post but, to sum it up, it makes us feel great. When we shop, we try to shop local and we always bring a list. So much food is wasted on a day-to-day basis in America, it’s disheartening. When you plan what you’re going to eat, it creates less stress and less waste.
This journey together is a process and every day we are learning more about our intentions and seeing what matters most to us. Hey, we still have one newer car in our garage and we know that it’s not the most sustainable option, however, it does bring purpose and joy.
Overall, our impact might be small but, they are still our choices. Americans can be so blind to what is happening in the world around us. We are at the height of so much, cheap fashion, overwhelming amounts of affordable food, consuming things galore. People buy things because they can, and later experience anxiety, buyers remorse – cognitive dissonance.
I ask you a simple question, do you need it and if so, is it going to fill that empty void?
I know we are only three people but, as I said, choices make ripples and, ripples make waves. And at the end of the day, these values/choices bring us joy. We have more time for experiencing new places, spend less on unneeded societal “needs” and ultimately feeling more at peace at the end of the day.
I also know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. We might have similar values or, the complete opposite. That’s the beauty of intentional living, you set your values/choices and they define you and your goals as a person.
I hoped you enjoyed reading about my outlook on intentional living.
I’m very curious about your thoughts, let me know what you think.