Back in January, I declared 2018 as the Year of Intention. Seeing as how the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl this year (Fly, Eagles, Fly!) and Clemson basketball is a force in the NCAA tournament, there is no reason for me not to believe that 2018 will be my best year yet. Since my public declaration, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what is actually meant by intentional living. And after much thought, I’ve reached the conclusion that to me, the core of intentional living is actually understanding why we do what we do. And the first step for such exploration is determining what my top priorities are in life.
Seems easy enough, right? Without thinking about it too much, I answered the following way and just wrote what came to my mind when I asked myself “What are your top priorities in life?” I didn’t think – I just typed (which is apparently how the POTUS runs his Twitter account). I gave myself 90 seconds and this is what I came up with…
- relationship with Clay
- relationship the kids
- be happy
- live simply
- be tough
- make a difference
- be happy
- be kind
- meaningful friendships
- be present
- experience different cultures
- be happy
- stay curious
- experience much as I can
- be healthy
- experience food and drink from around the world
- give back
- be happy
Not a bad start. In fact – when you’re thumbing through that self-help book in Barnes and Noble, you’d be hard-pressed not see any of these phrases. You check the Amazon app on your phone and then have an internal debate about which multi-million dollar company to give your business while reassuring yourself that you will check out that independent book store in the hipster part of town sooner rather than later. You ultimately decide on immediate gratification and purchase the book – only to read the first three chapters before banishing it to the back of the middle drawer in your nightstand. You find it two days before the packers are due to arrive and stare at it in your hands – thinking about whether to donate it or put it in the keep pile. You choose to keep it and place it next to that one book you did end up purchasing at that independent bookstore for $2 over the suggested retail price. This isn’t just me, is it?
What about Happiness?
There are a lot of be happy’s on that list, aren’t there? Be happy – such a simple declaration that can seem like such an impossible task when it feels like the odds are stacked against you. But many people out there believe that happiness is a choice to be made each day, each hour, each minute, each second. Both Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan describe happiness as the joy of moving towards potential and happiness is fueled by that journey. I choose to look at happiness this way – it’s the joy of living and doing so to the best of my ability.
Narrowing the List
The contents of my 90 second list can be narrowed down by grouping them together based on similarities.
- relationship with Clay, relationship with kids, meaningful friendships – all of these proprieties have to do with relationships
- be happy, be healthy, be tough – all of these priorities have to do with health – both physical and emotional
- live simply, be kind, make a difference, be present, give back – all of these priorities have to do with purpose and the impact I wish to have in the world
- travel, experience different cultures, experience as much as I can, stay curious, experience food and drink from around the world – all of these priorities deal with exploration and the desire to learn
My Top Four Priorities
So based on the breakdown above, I’ve determined my top four priorities in life to be the following (in no particular order)…
So what does this mean? Well – I’m not quite sure yet. Good thing I have a year to figure it out.