Who knew that turning 37 at the height of a pandemic, and right after a devastating typhoon could bring so much clarity to my otherwise overthinking brain? I had planned on going on a solo trip for my 37th birthday. It was the perfect opportunity as my husband was home for a vacation (then), and he could look after the kids while I’m away.
“This is it!” I said to myself. Plan Solo Trip is happening this year! I didn’t want anything grand, I only wanted to be by the beach, alone, as I sashay my way into my late thirties (cue in overly sentimental music for this overly sentimental tita). Salty hair, skin peppered with sand, toes in the water, with a Mimosa in hand; just these for a mom brain that’s gotten a good beating from living with pandemic uncertainty.
But just as everything was laid out perfectly like Sidney Sheldon’s Best Laid Plans, Plan Solo Trip was blown off together with a part of our roof on the eve of Odette’s onslaught. To say that it was unbelievably overwhelming is an understatement.
But it wasn’t the canceled trip that bothered me, if anything, it made me appreciate where I was the night it happened—right next to my little family. Oddly enough, when I thought I’d deal with more uncertainties given the circumstances, the pitch-black darkness of post-Odette nights starkly juxtaposed my crystal-clear vision of how my being 37, or even the year 2022, would play out.
Living with intention
Intentional living is living life the way you want it to, with your mindset and actions deeply centered on your core values. It is setting out in the day, every day, knowing your “why,” and making conscious decisions on how to go about living your life in the direction you want to go. At its core, intentional living is living a life that is true to you.
It’s so easy to get lost in the motions of everyday life and get sidetracked by distractions, so here are five ways to help you (and me) focus in the now, and practice living life intentionally.
Knowing why you do what you do is the first step to living your life with more intention. Starting your day knowing what your purpose is will not only clear your headspace, it will also add value to your time, experiences, and even character.
Turning off the autopilot, setting priorities, knowing how to spend your time and with whom, and learning how to drown out unnecessary noise will keep distractions at bay, thus giving you more wiggle room to grow and be more intentional with every aspect of your life.
Write It Down
Intentional living is a lifestyle and not a checklist. To perfect practicing it, one must keep track of the progress one’s making. Bullet journals will help you create a clearer picture of your goals and plans, and will keep you from going on autopilot when times are likely not to go the way we want them to. Journaling can help you make more conscious decisions about how you spend your time.
Be An Active Listener
Easier said than done especially when we are wired to respond to prove a point, even before the other person could finish his or her sentence. By practicing active listening, you will not only gain more insight into things concerning the world around you, but you also get to connect with the person you are talking to on a much deeper level. Listening with intention will help you understand where the other person is coming from. Listen to understand, and focus on the conversation at hand.
Embrace Slow Living
Living intentionally goes hand in hand with living slow, and in principle, they share the same core: a calmer, more relaxed approach to life. Understand that busyness is a choice and when you slow down to enjoy the little things, you get to enjoy the journey more than to see everything as tasks that need to be accomplished. Be unapologetic in paying attention to details, in watching what you consume—from social media to food, to news—in understanding that faster isn’t always better, and slow doesn’t mean less.
Make A Difference
Random acts of kindness can make a big impact on yourself, your community, and the world in general because you help make it a kinder place for everyone. No, it doesn’t have to be grand for it to make an impact. One act, no matter how small, can leave lasting ripples, the ones that grow bigger as they radiate out into the world. Set an intention to make kindness a habit, expect nothing in return, and watch it make you a happier, more grounded person.
Living with intention is more than just unplugging from social media, jotting down dreams and aspirations, and being mindful of what we consume. Living with intention is embracing the here and now, it is being in the present, being self-aware, and being able to enrich our lives with meaningful experiences, interactions, and relationships.
One that I hope to embrace moving forward.