Do you ever wonder if you’re making a difference?
When was the last time you stopped and asked yourself if you’re truly engaged in life or just drifting from day to day with no purpose or intent?
I feel confident you want to make a difference, but maybe you’ve just gotten too busy and you’ve lost your focus.
It’s easy to get so caught up in the busyness of life that you find yourself just going through the motions of living without truly living.
I guess this has been on my mind a lot lately – because I know I’m getting ready to enter my ‘busy season’ and previous experience has taught me that if I’m not careful the summer will be gone and I will feel like I’ve missed it.
Whoever coined the phrase “lazy days of summer” wasn’t a Professional Organizer, I can promise you that. 😊 Summer is our busiest season – we have clients moving out – needing to downsize prior to the move and we have other clients moving in who need help unpacking their boxes so they can start enjoying their new home. It gets a little crazy at times.
I recall one very busy summer (shortly after I started my business) when things got so hectic that I felt like I was surviving, not living. Then Fall arrived and I was so sad because it felt like I had completely missed summer.
At that point I knew something had to change – because– I don’t like missing things. I want to be fully engaged in life and in relationships – so I had a little conversation with myself. You have those — Right? (Please, say ‘yes’ even if you don’t, so, I won’t feel like the Lone Ranger here)
I have them all the time – it seems my brain never shuts off…but often those conversations help me make some very positive changes in my life. Learning to live with intention happened as a result of one of those conversations.
It went something like this:
“Self, blah, blah, blah 😊” and at the end of that “conversation” I had made a decision to change the way I approached the busyness. I started, by acknowledging the busyness wasn’t going to change so I needed to change the way I responded to it.
Your busy season may not be summer, maybe it’s Fall when the kiddos are involved in sports or other school related activities, but we all have certain times when life gets busier than normal. And without careful planning, when those times come, you’ll find yourself going through the motions of life without really focusing on living that life.
As a result of that little conversation with myself 😊 I made some changes that have helped me to enjoy my busy season – even embrace it and yet feel like I’m not missing out on life.
1 – I decided that while I couldn’t have a healthy home cooked meal every night – I could have them more often than not IF I “planned” a little better.
2 – I could still sit on my front porch (my favorite room of the house) and read a good magazine or book – I just needed to get up 15 minutes earlier so I could do a couple household chores before heading to work.
3 – I could let some things go or graciously accept Hubby’s help. *I suffer from ‘do it myself’ syndrome ;-(
** I’m spoiled rotten and I KNOW it. I’m married to the most amazing guy on the planet and he is very ‘engaged’ in us. There is nothing he would not do for me if he could and I’m NOT just saying that (ask my friends) – the problem is “Me” – after 41 years of marriage I still (subconsciously) struggle with believing he ‘sincerely’ wants to help me with NO hidden agenda — and even though I KNOW deep down that it’s leftover baggage from growing up in an emotionally and physically abusive home – It’s still real – so I’m not always a gracious receipt of his kindness – but I consistently work on it. 😊
4 – I do one thing EVERY day for the sheer joy of doing it.
5 – Do something for someone else. A random act of kindness. (I may not do this one ‘every’ day…but I do it often enough to keep me centered.)
6 – And last (but not least) when I find myself becoming overwhelmed… I – Stop – Breathe and Intentionally acknowledge something I’m grateful for.
I know, there’s nothing on that list that’s life changing or even hard – It’s just ‘purposeful’ – I don’t try to change the busyness, I just change my attitude toward it.
How about you? Have you ever caught yourself thinking “where has the time gone?”
If you have, then you’re probably not living intentionally. Listen, I get it, it’s easy to get lazy (and/or tired) and just start drifting through life rather than living it.
Sure, there are going to be times in your life when yourself or someone you love is having health issues or you’re starting a new job or business and you will just be going through the motions and for that season you’re main focus will be to just keep taking the next step knowing there are better days ahead – that’s not what I’m talking about here.
What I’m referring to here are the times when we simply go through the motions of living without really ‘living.’
Intentional living doesn’t happen naturally. You must work at it. Others refer to it as ‘living in the moment’ or ‘being present’ in your life but regardless of what you choose to call it – it requires commitment and paying attention to the details of life.
Like my decision to eat a healthy dinner several nights a week. It takes work and planning…but oh, is it worth it.
Meal times are a prime example of just going through the motions. Thankfully, family dinners are (slowly) making a comeback and I’m so glad, because meal times are about more than just food. Meal times provide great opportunities to create bonds and lasting memories within the family unit. I can’t help but wonder how many opportunities to make a difference are lost because it’s easier to just dash through the nearest drive-thru and eat in the car as we head to some other busy part of our life.
I’m not saying there won’t be times when this is unavoidable but those times should be exceptions NOT the rule, and when you do find it necessary to “eat on the run” (so to speak) have the kiddo’s turn off all electronic devices and have meaningful conversation on your way to ball practice or piano recital or wherever you’re headed. * This also includes parents turning off their devices – you lead by example.
I get it, you’ve worked all day and you’re tired, so it’s tempting to just let the kids get lost in a video game or social media in the backseat while you drive but parenting takes EFFORT and it’s HARD and sometimes that requires pushing through your ‘tiredness.’ Your family is worth and the dividends are PRICELESS.
If you want to keep the lines of communication open with your kids, you’ve got to creatively engage them in conversation. Deep down they are longing for this interaction with you but they just need guidance to make it happen.
As you already know – parenting rarely comes with an Easy Button and sadly in many families today there is a disconnect and we’ve got to figure out how to change that – and it will require doing certain things – intentionally.
Hey, I don’t claim to have any special insights or parenting skills but I have learned and observed a few things along the way and I’m just trying to keep you from making some of the mistakes I made 😊
Like I said, Intentional living requires commitment so at least a couple nights each week, PLAN a family dinner where everyone sits down together and eats. Those commercials you’ve heard aren’t just trying to sell you something – Family dinners are a missing ingredient in today’s families and unfortunately, it’s showing!
This will be MUCH easier to pull off if you have an organized and well stocked pantry, however, if you struggle with meal planning you can eliminate a lot of stress by keeping 2 or 3 basic meals on hand. Spaghetti with meat sauce or sloppy joes and fries can be put together without much expense or effort.
If it’s been a while since you had a meal together as a family you may experience some push back or resistance in the beginning but if you stay consistent until it becomes a habit, I promise this will become one of the most ‘looked forward to’ event’s in your child’s life.
Other examples of intentional living include (but not limited to) spending 1 hour a week with each of your children doing something they want to do – make sure this time is uninterrupted by devices of any kind.
Have a family game night (our 9-year-old granddaughter’s favorite thing to do when we’re around is play Pictionary.)
It’s not the activity that makes a difference – it’s the interactions that take place while involved in the activity.
Another example is ‘intentionally listening’ when other family members are talking. Give them your full attention truly listen without becoming distracted by the thoughts in your head. Often, we ‘listen’ but we don’t ‘hear.’
When you choose to live life with purpose you will be providing a sense of security for your kids. The world can be a pretty scary place especially when you’re bombarded with so much negative news (as an adult it’s sometimes scary for us so just imagine how it’s making your kids feel) Part of intentional living is making sure your kids feel protected and secure and if you’re just going through life on auto-pilot it’s making them feel insecure. (pinkie promise)
Look around and make sure the atmosphere in your home is creating calm not chaos. Become actively engaged in your own life. Look for ways to make your family feel special.
And, when life does get hectic – Stop – Breathe – Look around and Intentionally express Thanks for something in your life.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful, if so, please share it with your friends, on Facebook or Pinterest.
You can make a difference – One person – One decision at a time.
Start LIVING your life – Remember, you don’t get a ‘do over.’