photo of me: by Emily @ Chatting At The Sky
January is always a time where I reflect on what I want for the new year. Invariably, I decide I want to live a “more simple and intentional life” than I did the year before. The question of how to live simply and intentionally in a fast paced world full of enticing options is quite fascinating to me.
We can do more in less time, apparently, but often it feels like we might be doing more of what we never knew we needed to do and missing out on the things we wish we had more time for. That is pretty messed up, if I do say so myself.
Why do we do that to ourselves, and can it really be avoided?
For those of us who are online, you might feel the pressure to do more of what everyone else does — and do it in less time. And, not only do we have the pressure to do more (often because of all the online input showing us how much everyone else is apparently doing), but if we are a blogger, we feel compelled to take additional time to document our every move. And to make a busy life even more crazy, we are now able to follow the every move of dozens or even hundreds of other people on our computers and TV screens.
Is that progress? Or are we driving ourselves insane? I’ll let you answer that question for yourself.
When our grandmothers created a knit blanket or baked a pie, they did it in the peace and quiet of their home. They didn’t feel the need to talk about it with hundreds, but perhaps simply shared their recipe or creation with their neighbor across the fence. They didn’t photograph it, they didn’t Photoshop it, they didn’t create the step by step tutorial with diagrams, sketches, and links to 30 other similar tutorials, promote it online or beg for people to come see what they made.
Did Grandma need 100 thumbs up and glowing comments on her creations to feel fulfilled? Or was she just happy to have provided warmth and nourishment for her children? Did Grandma need to spend time researching 1,000 different decorating ideas before she could decide on one for her home? Did Grandma have to cart her three kids around in the mini-van five nights a week to Greek class and baseball camp and dance workshops?
Grandma was not interrupted all day by endless options and activities, beeping phones, blaring TV sets, texts and emails, Facebook messages, or twitter chats.
And, somehow I think my Grandma was fine without all the wonderful things we have now.
She probably still felt overworked, tired, lonely and even frustrated like all women seem to at times. She had her own set of things to deal with. But I know my grandma was never tempted to karate chop a computer and throw it out the window because it froze when she was uploading photos of her pie. She probably just pulled a hand written recipe card from her card box, baked and ate the pie, and that was the extent of the experience.
Are we raising our expectations and pressure on ourselves each year to keep up with MORE than we SHOULD?
Yes, we are connecting more than our Grandma did. I enjoy connection — to an extent. We are sharing more ideas, maybe earning a living, adding beauty to the world, learning things we never knew before. I enjoy those things and even rely on them at times.
My business and ministry actually depend on lots of connection, and I am blessed to know so many wonderful people online who make my life better in so many ways. There are lots of good people and opportunities online! But as a wife and mother, I have to ask myself what my goal is and where my priorities are. Do I need to participate in everything that is available to me?
I can’t really change the world I live in but I CAN make intentional choices every single day, every hour, and even every minute for how to spend MY time within the context of my family’s needs, priorities and obligations in life.
In order to live an intentional life, I need to wrestle over the small choices I make each day.
Every single choice I make takes away from my daily allowance of available time.
We all have the same number of hours in a day, where are all our hours going? Minute by minute, our time is being spent on something. I want to be more intentional about what I choose to do. And, frankly, what I chose NOT to do.
How might you incorporate the concept of more intentional living this year?
Come join me at The Inspired Room, where we talk about more than just decorating, we talk about creating authenticity and purpose in our life and homes.