Being intentional is important because it makes you happy. When your life lacks intentionality, you feel lost. Not being intentional can stem from having a lack of willpower over the things you want willpower over, which is a terrible feeling. According to research from the British Psychological Society research, if you feel like you don’t have willpower over say, vegging out in front of the television, you are more likely to end up feeling guilty about it, and not gain any benefits of relaxation from it.
Worse than just the vegging out problem it can create in your life, in my opinion, is that it may be a contributing factor in how some people end up overweight, or have terrible relationships with loved ones. It has already been shown to have something to do with how people waste their lives away in front of the tv, video games, or social media site. And, sadly, after a lifetime of the aforementioned inadvertent activities, it’s how you grow old and realize you’ve not pursued any of your passions, or accomplished anything you’d planned on. Granted, there are plenty of other reasons you could give for having a mediocre to less than desirable life, but there is always at least a little something you can do about it, if you are intentional.
One popular reason for not living up to your potential was even made into a twangy country song, “Life happened.” What a good excuse! So you got pregnant. So you got a job you like less than you’d prefer and you’d rather be an astronaut. Maybe the cure is to stop saying “Why not?” to the tv or to FB or to another drink, or insert your downfall here, and say “Why not?” to the dreams you used to have.
Maybe, no, probably, those dreams have changed, as dreams tend to do as you live out your life and realize more of your preferences. That is a good thing. But know that there are still aspirations there, even if they are deep inside you. Even if they have not been able to be accessed or pondered about for years. And even if you believe they are covered up with the plethora of responsibilities that come with adulthood, and a lack of time to even consider them, much less accomplish them.
As an example, I will use a personal event. For many years, I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian, but lo and behold, I didn’t make it into vet school. I was torn down for a quite a while- you focus your whole life on this one goal for 4+ years, then you are told you wouldn’t make a good vet, you are ugly, and your puny little life will never amount to anything. Okay, so they only give you the first reason…But I assure you, for me and many people who are in the same position, it feels like the vet school is telling you all that and worse; it’s like it’s the end of the world.
I could use that one event, err non-event, to still believe that I am doomed to eternal failure-hood. But, as I worked a different job in the animal field, and now have become a stay at home mommy, I have had time to further analyze myself, as well as the situation that really made me want to be a doctor of veterinary medicine in the first place more closely.
Why did I want to be a vet? Because I loved animals! Always have, and always will. They are the most adorable, innocent things God put on this Earth, right after my babies. But, do I really love the fact that I would have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, and four years of my life to go to vet school? Do I really love the medicine side, or the school side, or the side that meant I’d also be around people all day? No, being the frugal introvert I am, I don’t think any of that would be a good fit for me. It was solely the animals that drew me to the field.
So, in retrospect, I am quite glad I didn’t make it into vet school. But, there are still things I could do that would fulfill my dream in its current state, at its most basic level- being around animals. There are other options besides being a vet. (They may not be as prestigious, but if prestige is the only reason you are going into a field, then that is a mistake as well.) I could volunteer at an animal shelter, work part time at an animal hospital, kennel, or pet shop, or volunteer at the zoo. I could even start a part time pet sitting, dog bathing, or dog poop scooping business with minimal startup costs.
I shared all this with you not because I think you care about my life experiences, but so that you can hopefully relate them to your own. There are options available to you, even if you had a shaky start. If you are not able to jump into a full time job in the area of your choice and make the same salary you currently make, these are all options that work in the animal field part time, so maybe there are similar ones in the field you wish to be in. Yes, it will take a bit of brainstorming, but it is worth putting in the extra effort to find something that is meaningful to you. And if you enjoy these activities more than your full time job, eventually you could work them into full time jobs, if you keep an eye open for opportunities, or a full scale businesses, if you work hard to grow it.