By Leslie Dempsey
In January, my best friend of 35 years and I took the trip of a lifetime to celebrate our fiftieth birthdays. We had been planning this trip for over three years. We didn’t know where we were going or how we were going to get there, we just knew that we were going to spend a week together. Somewhere. Anywhere. We handed our budget and our wish list over to a travel agent, eventually settling on a week-long trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
One day, while we were lazing about on the beach- reading, napping, and discussing life’s most important matters- we fell on the topic of how infrequent our visits have been. When you live two provinces apart, it’s not always easy to plan trips to visit each other. But we went seven years without seeing each other. SEVEN YEARS! How could that happen? We never intended to wait that long!
We decided, then and there, to be more intentional with our friendship: yearly visits, regular calls, and texts. After all, this is my best friend, my soul sister, the PB to my jelly!
Intention. That’s a strange word. We often think of it as, “that was my intention, but…”. It’s often used negatively or as an excuse.
Let’s take the “but” out and replace it with “so I did it”. “That was my intention, so I did it.”
Living intentionally. Living WITH intention. That has become my phrase for 2016.
What does that mean in my life?
It means that now I am purposefully doing things that I intend to do. I didn’t just think about them, I did them. I have missed too many opportunities in my life by not following through with my intention. A few years ago, a beloved former teacher and friend, along with his wife, entered a nursing home. I always intended to go and see him there, but I never made it. I had lots of opportunities, but I was always busy doing something else or nothing at all. Sadly, he passed away before I ever followed through with my intention. A missed opportunity. A few moments out of my day would have made a world of difference.
How can we live more intentionally?
Now, I’m not talking about the 10 steps to a better you that appears regularly in magazines – eating better, sleeping better, exercise, etc. – although those are all great things to do intentionally. I’m talking about the real stuff: the heart and soul stuff.
Make a list. Instead of a bucket list, it can be an intention list.
Visiting a friend, taking a trip, reading a book, creating something beautiful, spending time with family, repairing broken relationships, taking a class, getting involved in a community service project, writing an article. Whatever you intend to do, do it. Don’t just think about it, do it.