On My Mind – 16 – Being Intentional

Last week at work someone made an offhanded comment that got stuck in my head. And then I followed up on the comment with someone else, and their response, even though delivered kindly and with explanation, also got stuck in my head. And I’ve been spinning on those all week.

I’ve also been waking up in the middle of the night worrying about my upcoming flights to Sydney and Tokyo. I am staying in Sydney until Saturday because I get there on Tuesday this time and thought staying three days would be insane. But now I am worried that maybe I should have come back Friday so as to not spend all Saturday recovering from my flight and wasting my weekend with the kids. For Tokyo, I am leaving around 6am on Mother’s Day and flying through Seoul so I can go business class and it’s taking me around 6 hours longer. I am wondering if I should have left a day later and not missed another weekend day with my kids but then reminding myself that getting there a day early is probably the sane thing to do especially since I will only be there for three days. And yet, I wake up in the middle of the night worrying about all these things. The comments people make, the flights I’ve already booked, the one, two days I will miss.

And all this worrying is making me stay awake at night so that when I am with my kids, on vacation, I am exhausted, unable to be present, or my mind is spinning and not focusing on being here with them now. 

What a waste.

Here’s what I know: I like my job, I like being good at my job, I like working. I even like working hard.


But I love my family. I love my kids. I love watching my boys grow up. I love sitting and doing work with them. I love hearing about how their days went. I love being deeply connected with their lives.  I know that I have another 4-5 years before David is off to college and another 8 with Nathaniel before he, too, starts his own journey. I want to be here for all of those days and I don’t want to go chase some stupid career goal I don’t have.

It’s so easy for me to spin other people’s throw away comments. I’m such a pleaser that I worry constantly that I am not pleasing someone. Some comment about going away when I should be here with my kids, or how I travel so much, some comment about how my title should be X or Y. Some comment about how I am not doing enough. It doesn’t even matter who is commenting, I just always want to apologize and please. 

Of course, doing that doesn’t work. Because if I am pleasing someone, I am displeasing someone else. Time and attention are limited resources and if they are going to one place, they are not going to another at the same time. When I feel unsure of my own choices and destination, it becomes that much easier for me to sway with others’ comments. For me to spin constantly.

But when I know what I want, I listen so much differently. I hear what they say and then filter that through what matters to me. What resonates with my own values and thoughts and goals. I take what helps and leave the rest. I am so much better at walking down my own path when I know what that path is. 

This is why it’s so important to me to live intentionally. I know that when I have spent time thinking about the life I want to live, I am so much better at constructing it, sticking to it, and living it. 

On My Mind is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

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