my introduction to intentional living

Friday, January 8, 2016
On a walk at the cottage
Growing up, our household was a slow-friendly sort. Where traditional "living rooms" in the typical American home often go untouched, ours was a well-used respite from the TV... a big, long couch and cozy chairs all faced one another, and through my entire life, I congregated there for not only lazy morning conversations over coffee, but some of the most important discussions ever had with my parents.

That sort of leisurely dialogue - legs outstretched and magazines always within reach - seemed so normal to me. It wasn't until after college when a guy that I'd been dating seriously (notably, one who didn't last) complained after a few visits home about all that time spent talking without the comforting buzz of a TV nearby. Apparently, it made him uncomfortable. Hello, red flag.

Don't get me wrong. I'm probably clocking in far too closely to the average joe that watches more than five hours of the tube a day. But, I'd like to think that reliance isn't part of the equation in my case.

That said, one of the most instrumental parts of my life growing up was Northern Michigan. In our family's small lake cottage, without cable or internet... but with fishing and baking and napping and Boggle, we had plenty of space and plenty of quiet. We spent quite a bit of time there and it was, without a doubt, my favorite place. It didn't teach me to slow down; it forced me to slow down.

It's been sold, for several, necessary reasons. And I miss it terribly.

But really, slowing down is only part of the process. The other piece, which I feel is pretty critical, is simplifying. And that is where I find myself now.

Last fall, I sold my condo to move in with my fiance, and that meant taking serious inventory of all of the shit I'd collected over the past few years, which had mysteriously grown to fill all of the space in said condo. Purging (through loads of donations and strategic Craigslisting, of course) felt medicinal.

And now, in our lovely one-bedroom loft, I don't miss any of it. In fact, life feels easier when I have only my favorite sweaters hanging in the closet. It feels more luxurious, actually, which is funny because one might think that ridding yourself of most of your things would make you feel slighted.

Nope. Not yet, at least.

So, this taste of intentional living (a dose more mindful, a bit less hectic) whet my appetite. I spent the last half of 2015 delving into some thought-provoking resources on the topic and I'll be sharing plenty of my favorites here.

With a hustlin' city surrounding us and the constant whir on sirens going by, it's tricky to turn home into a hideaway. But I'm going to try.

What triggered you to slow it down? 

I loved this little wooden bridge.


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