Don’t just muddle through; choose to live intentionally

Published 2:38 pm Friday, February 4, 2022

How many times have you uttered the words “If I can just get through this”?  I know I have said this many times. 

Maybe in reference to the dreaded dental appointment.  You know, where you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable, dreading the time spent in the chair with your mouth wide open for whatever procedure you are having.  I seem to use this approach a lot. 

For instance, with the cold winter weather we’ve had off and on.  I think if I can just get through this, there will be nicer, warmer, more tolerable weather.  I measure my days, my life, these days like this.  What a waste!  I should focus on all the moments rather than waiting until I “get through this”—whatever “this” happens to be.  

I project myself into the future so much that I’m not aware of the present.  I think we all have been doing this as it pertains to the pandemic.  I remember thinking that if we can just get through this until there is a vaccine, we’ve got it made.  And that didn’t happen.  Then, I thought the next step would be if we could get through the surge in cases, we will be better off.  And that didn’t happen.  There was just this other surge.  And with the surge came more controversy particularly with the science related to COVID. 

Science is defined as “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”  Observation and experiment are key here.  Yes, there is a broad foundation upon which scientists can predict a likely outcome.  But those interpretations are now flavored with political and other influences totally unrelated to science.  Sad.  

I realize I need to modify my philosophy because I’m missing out on living my life.  I am overlooking what’s happening in the right now by obsessing over getting through the next event or issue that comes along.  And often, it’s not even my personal issue or challenge.  It might be that of a family member or friend, or even our entire culture.  If we can only “get through” the fill-in-the-blank, and get on with our lives. 

Yet, it’s all those things we deal with day in and day out that we think comprises our life.  

I came across an article recently that referenced a book by British journalist, Oliver Burkeman entitled Four Thousand Weeks:  Time Management for Mortals.  The four thousand weeks he refers to translates to a human life span of 76.9 years.  When I think of my life as 4,000 weeks, I stop to think how I want to claim ownership over the weeks left to me.  Because, my friends, life really goes by in a flash. And it happens that, for me at least, I have come to realize that you have to be in your golden years to recognize how short life is.  

Think about what is important to you.  I also remember the quote “Life is not a dress rehearsal.”  You may have opportunities for do-overs along your 4,000 weeks, but you don’t necessarily get to add more time.  Make your remaining weeks count and define what matters to you.  So, my advice is to live life intentionally.  You are in charge of your own journey, the captain of your ship.  Make it significant, make it meaningful, or as author Shannon L. Alder wrote “Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”

Bonnie Brown writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle. Contact her at bbrown@olemiss.edu.