A Merciful New Year


It’s the fourth day of 2011, and I’ve  already learned  something new this year about this intentionality business.

Somehow, I have confused being intentional with being positive and enthusiastic and having a good attitude all the time. I’m beginning to understand that these are different things.

Taking an intentional stance, about aging or anything else, is about making choices. I intend to live this year with my eyes wide open. I intend to walk toward this new threshold, perhaps  trembling with awe,  but fully awake. Consciously placing the decision to be awake and fully alive at the center of my every day changes the choices I see as available, and it shapes my behavior. What I am doing on purpose gives me resiliency and new purpose to my days.

But that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be pretty.

There are days like today, when I have a cold. My work goes slowly and I’m really tired. All I can manage is to be kind to others while I struggle to get through.

Perhaps I am awakening to  mercy: the  intention to  forgive myself for  the smallness of my being today. Growing older seems to demand that I practice this intention more and more.

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  • jillian  On January 4, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    oh yeah. I’m with you – all of this. So true. Thanks for saying it so elegantly.

  • Lindy  On January 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Being intentional doesn’t mean being nice, either… right? And taking care of the cold is the best intentional move one could make in that state…. right?

  • Intentional50  On January 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    You’re right, Lindy. Being intentional is not about being nice. Which is a good thing, as I am somewhat deficient in the Nice department. It does demand accountability and honesty, though So, if the honest truth is that I am sick, I am accountable for taking care of myself.

    It’s just that attending to these small needs feel at tension with with intentional stance around entering my biggest, deepest, best life in my fifties. I often think of humility and mercy as qualities of smallness. But that Jesus dude really worked those qualities, and nobody thinks he’s small…

  • Gina  On January 5, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    “Perhaps I am awakening to mercy: the intention to forgive myself for the smallness of my being today.”

    Every year on our birthdays, we ask each other a question we got from the ‘Arthur’ PBS show – Have you wasted your X’s? (filling in X with the age you just left behind).

    For weeks after my birthday, I find myself suddenly alert trying to determine if I am, at that moment, wasting my year, sleepwalking through.

    Sometimes what I need is to go curl up in bed soon after getting home in the afternoon. That’s ok. But for it to *really* be ok with me, I need to acknowledge that is what I am deciding to do. This is new for me, but I’m glad to have come to it.

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