I told him I was going to the Jersey shore for the weekend. I think it was a surprise, but maybe not so much. It was my intention to receive a modest spring sunburn, to get pounded by Atlantic waves, and take some time to sort the rocks and beans and ribbons, thank you notes, condemnations, confessions, hopes, dreams, sorrows, love and confusion that occupied my mind. It was my intention to get up before sunrise, run across the road, sit on a blanket and watch the sun come up. I lost my phone, I dreamed a dreadful dream, I awoke well before dawn and ran across the road terrified that I’d missed the moment. I sat on the sand in full dark watching layers of light build, relieved, so relieved I hadn’t missed the moment. Stars were still present. My mind was preoccupied with the loss of my phone and memories I had no way to shake. Layers of light built out there on the edge of water sky as I intentionally watched the sun rise and used my kindle to record the moments.
Living intentionally means I have a vision for what I want my life to look like, I have reminders that trail me in blogs, on scraps of paper, on the black board hanging on my frigerator. Living intentionally means I choose to get up early and watch the sun come up, or I prepare for meeting with the Sundowners so we can say goodbye to the day. Living intentionally means I think of what I want to eat and drink and wear and prepare for the day, best I can. Living intentionally means I listen more than I speak. That I choose to say “yes” or “no” and not feel guilty either way. It means I understand what healthy human rhythms look and feel like, and I choose healthy… or not.
Living intentionally means I am not a pinball. I don’t wake up when your flipper knocks me out of bed. I’m not your silver ball driven by flippers, springs, gravity, and luck (yeah, good luck wit dat) ringing up points that are exciting but cannot move my feet across the ground avoiding life’s unseen mines. It means I cook a healthy breakfast instead of buying it at the drive-thru, I rent movies at the library instead of signing up for Amazon prime, I buy foods that will feed my body for the week and foods that will also satisfy cravings, because what is life if we only drink water and eat tree bark? I intend to enjoy my food. It means I am taking small steps to live the life I want and need to live, no matter what’s going on around me.
Intention means I’m not living at the whims of life, reacting or responding well or haphazardly. No matter what life I choose to life, the sun will rise in the east and set in the west, the moon will glare in my window so bright, so intrusive in winter, far fainter in summer. I will hunger and thirst and struggle, and I carry it all with me to bedroom and bathroom and wee living room. Intention means I will write, edit, and send my work out every day because it’s all I’ve ever wanted, all the while fighting my greatest foes. Intention is valiant, sturdy, knowledgeable, while living day to day feels like being a pinball.
Any honest, reasonable person knows it’s hard to choose getting up in the dark to see a sunrise when in a couple of hours we have to shower, get dressed, feed the kids, drive to work, work, work, come home, endure the fallout of the day and hope there will be peace in the bed we sleep upon. Happy are those who can sort their intentions and move on them as best they can.