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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Tidd

What does it mean to live intentionally?

I’m about to have to get intentional with my life again.

Now, all those “woo woo” people out there would say that we should be intentional all the time and to that I say, “I’m too tired.”

But there are moments in life when you do have to take the bull by the horns and recognize that changes will need to be made.

I’m easing into living entirely on my own (I think. I’m fully aware my kids could always move back). This summer my oldest, who goes to college out of state, took a summer internship three hours away. My son – who will be starting college in the fall – took a job at a summer camp and is home very sporadically. Which leaves me with my youngest, who is a social butterfly with a summer job and is rarely at home.

When we become parents, our entire lives become about letting go – it’s sad to say, but it’s true. From the moment they take their first steps until the moment they move out we’re teaching them how to live independently of us. Some of those moments I’ve fully embraced (everyone finally in elementary school – YES!) and some have been harder.

As my kids become adults, I’m noticing that I’m moving into one of those “intentional” phases again. One of the first was getting married and moving. The next was when my oldest was born and I decided to stop working and stay home with her. Of course the biggest was when my husband died. Second to that was when I decided to stay single. And now I’m faced with another.

What does it meant to live intentionally?

All I can do is answer what this question means for me.

It means that I need to make decisions, try new things, and open myself up to new experiences in order to create the new life that’s staring me in the face.

When I moved somewhere I knew no one, I threw myself into meeting people in my college classes (because I was all of 20 years old) and finding a job that had me out in the community. When I decided to stay home with my daughter, I joined groups for moms and the cultural commission board in my area. When my husband died, I floundered a bit trying to find my footing, but I was determined to make it happen. When I decided to stay single, I was intentional about doing things that allowed me to learn how to enjoy my own company.

And now…it’s time to look at making some changes again.

The good news is that I really like being on my own – it took me a while to get there, but I’ve made it. However, I’m starting to realize how powerful it is to anticipate someone coming home.

I can be all on my own for seven hours while the kids are in school, but I know they’ll be home by 4 PM. And even if all they do is drop their bags and head to their rooms, I still know they’re there.

I don’t mind having my evenings to myself, but my youngest has a curfew and I know she’ll be home (usually 15 minutes late). Yes, she goes straight to bed, but I have the anticipation of hearing her walk through the door.

This summer, I feel like I’ve “put myself out there” more than I usually do. I’ve got some concerts with friends scheduled, a weekend up in the mountains to visit my daughter at her internship, and other things to look forward to. I do feel like I’m well on my way to intentionally creating this next phase of my life.

And who knows? This could be something I worry about and then my daughter ends up moving home for a bit after college. My son might be home more on weekends than I’m anticipating (although I doubt it – that kid is ready to fly). I’ve learned to try not to borrow worry because nothing ever turns out like you think it will.

In the meantime, this next year or so will be a time of reflection and change for me as the kids become more independent…and so do I.

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