But I have the best intentions.
That statement right there causes a world of expectations, disappointment and chaos for me; a vicious cycle of self-inflicted ups and downs. I always build up these ideas in my head that I’ll be the best version of myself if I can make a super special gift for this person or buy that person’s lunch. I tell myself that if I cut out the junk food and the Dr. Peppers that I’ll be happier and healthier and then I’ll make the extra effort in the morning to put on make-up and jewelry. I vow that if I buy this thing that this person mentioned one time and give it to them that they’ll like me a little bit more. I swear I’ll respond to that text message a friend sent me two hours ago and make plans to see them. And before I know it, I’ve spread myself, my resources and my energy too thin. Or worse, I don’t even get to that part because I’ve overwhelmed myself with all this stuff my heart wants to do that I lay on the couch until I decide it’s time for bed.
It’s hard to explain, and I’m sure you’re rubbing your head and thinking, “What is she going on about now?”
That’s the thing. I have been winding myself up into this little ball of “good intentions” that I haven’t been able to see that I could avoid most of those feelings if I lived a little bit more on purpose (ahem, intentionally) and a little bit less out of habit.
Somewhere along this road I call life, I started telling myself that I’ll always be a little squishy around my middle because that’s just how I was built. Or I will always be walked all over because I’m small, quiet and young. Or I’ll never have time to do all the things I want to because no one has all of their dreams come true. And on and on it has gone until I accepted mediocrity. At some point, I made the decision to keep doing things because they’re comfortable and because that’s how I’ve always done it. But you see, I’ve always had the best intentions. I’ve always wanted to be that person who does random acts of kindness without recognition. I’ve always wanted to be the saver instead of the splurger. I’ve always wanted to be the kick-ass, strong, sparkly female character, but I never put plans behind those wants. I never made an intentional action to lead me in that direction.
So December brought with it, a sense of change. Now stay with me. Don’t write this off as a pre-New Year’s resolution. Instead, I’ve decided to stop with the resolutions, the do-overs and the “oh well”s. I’m better than that and the people I love deserve better than that. I’ve decided to start taking actions on purpose to mold my life instead of waiting in the wings or feeling like all the exciting things have already happened to me. I’m going to start taking better care of myself even if that means sacrificing a couple of hours of sleep in the mornings. I’m going to stop sacrificing my love of cooking for the convenience of Chinese take-out. I’m going to stop looking at junk food and Dr. Pepper as a reward for a long day or an incentive to go to class. I’m going to stop complaining about things I got myself into (for instance, class). I’m going to start making time with people meaningful instead of spending a couple of hours scrolling through my phone while in their presence. I’m going to start living intentionally and not just with the best intentions.
This is a tall order for anyone, and I know I’m going to fall victim to the voice in my head whispering, “You messed up, you might as well give up.” But I hope this all isn’t one big “but I had the best intentions” but rather a step towards taking my life off of auto-pilot and living intentionally.