What is living “Intentionally”?

To live ‘Intentionally’.  What does that mean exactly?

There are so many buzz words in our culture these days.

Intentional living.

Minimalism.

Simplify.

Conscious living.

We have all heard them and maybe even used them on occasion. But what are we saying.

About this time last year, I was turned onto The Minimalists and their pod casts and documentary, Minimalism.  It came to me a perfect time in our lives as our kids are in various stages and some have left the house and some have come back!  I wrote about this in a blog post, Abundance.  We have come a long way since sorting through things that we had collected along the way and have scaled our ‘things’ back substantially.

To live with Intention isn’t about depriving ourselves of things we enjoy or not buying anything.  I think it is easy to get into an almost manic state if we believe that if still have ‘stuff’ that we are living frivolously or not minimally or not intentionally.  

After all, what do we do with the things we want to keep?

There will be inevitably things we just plain want.  They may not seem important to someone else, but they hold value to us.  They may be things we use on a sporadic basis or just hold some sentimental purpose that we can’t imagine our life being without.  I think that rooting through the sentimental items is by far the hardest test to date for me. I have things that were my parents’ as well as things connected to the kids from over the years.  Minimalism and the Sentimental Mind post outlines my struggle with this exercise and how I made/making peace with letting go of some things.

Intentional Living to me means that I will choose what comes into my life while being fully conscious of what that item means to me or its usefulness.

To live intentionally is NOT about deprivation; it is consciously choosing what you bring into your life. 

The world we live in and have for many decades now has prided itself on a ‘winner takes all’ attitude.  We hold those up on pedestals who can buy whatever they want and have all the latest toys we wish we could have.  We spend our lives paying for things to fill our lives and think this is bringing us ‘happiness’.  This illusion of happiness is short lived when the next ‘thing’ we need is shown to us.  The cycle of buying, paying, and working for these things soon becomes what our life is about.

By purchasing things consciously and with the intention and the thought that we should be giving to them, more often than not we find that there were things we thought we needed but realize we don’t.

I have always been a fan of Yvon Chouinard , founder of Patagonia.  He brings the idea of “The more you know, the less you need” to his own life and to his corporate culture.  He stresses, not only in his personal life, but within his company, that we need not have the newest and latest and greatest of things as our culture leads us to believe.  We think these things bring us joy, but in reality, they demand payment, not only with currency but with our time.  Time is the one thing that equalizes us with everyone else.  No one person has more than 24 hours in a day.  How much is your time worth?  Time that is for friends, family, adventure, living, and yourself.

So as we set off at the beginning of another summer, we do so with purpose of filling our lives with memories and experiences rather than things that will be forgotten.  That to me, is intentional living.

What does Living Intentionally mean to you?

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. Living intentionally means to me – thinking through any non essential purchase I make, not attending events I do not want to, taking time to just chill and enjoy life (like a book and a nap on the deck swing!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so happy your post directed me to finding a great podcast which may not be new to others, but it is certainly worth finding- “The Minimalist”.
    Intentional living to me means determining whether each purchase is a “need” or a “want”. When they are “wants,” I ask further questions like affordability and opportunity cost. Thank you for this wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I am so happy you were able to find them. I listen in my car on the way to work! Definitely agree with the need and want question. I ask myself the same questions and it is surprising that some things you think are needs are actually wants 🙂 Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

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