I’m sure you’ve been there. You have an idea in your head of why you choose to do or believe certain things but can never quite piece together the abstract thoughts into a nice and cohesive package to present to the public. It’s even more difficult when it’s not a mainstream thought, so when you do take a stab at explaining…no one seems to understand you — partly because you don’t have the nice presentable package of thoughts. And by you, I mean me. Well, I’ve found someone who gets me and she is a middle-aged white woman, Dr. Meg Jay.
Dr. Jay did a TED Talk, Why 30 is NOT the new 20 and in 15 short minutes, she gifted me with the phrase I’ve been in search of for years, INTENTIONAL LIVING. No this isn’t groundbreaking and yes I’m sure after some time I would have come up with something but it was cathartic to have someone say it and everything just click.
According to society and contrary to Dr. Jay’s talk, 30 is the new 20 and we have nothing but time…lies, fallacies, and fairytales. I feel like this type of thinking is what lands people in jobs they don’t want, married to people they don’t want to be married to, living a life far shy of what they could have achieved.
It’s so bizarre because in one ear you have “society” saying, “Relax. You’re young. You have time” but as soon as you hit 30 the tables are turned and you’re being questioned about: why you aren’t as far in your career/haven’t started one, why you haven’t settled down, why don’t you have everything figured out?! It’s a sick catch 22 and why I choose to live intentionally.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve never really done something “just for the heck of it”. I try to do things that feed me in some way and/or push me towards my greater self, whether that be providing excitement, happiness, a sense of purpose and/or direction. One of my regular mantras is life is a series of choices.
Living intentionally begets living consciously and it forces me to be aware and really think about the the people and experiences I allow to create the makeup of my life. Dr. Jay makes a point on identity capital, meaning doing something that “adds value to who you are [and] is an investment in who you might want to be next.” Upon graduating, I could have taken a corporate job in an industry that was a far cry from the direction my gut told me I needed/wanted to be going. People kept telling me to “take it for now” or “work there for a year and then get out” but I couldn’t do it. Why should I essentially throw away a year of my life doing something that made me sad just thinking about it? So I didn’t. I stuck to my guns, fought severe uncertainty, kept my faith and I’m all the better for it. I have a fulfilling job that’s better than I could’ve imagined. I’m cultivating capital out here.
Another area of my life I’m very serious about living intentionally, dating/relationships. I go on dates here and there but I’ve yet to get invested in anyone. Why? I’m at the age where a lot of my peers aren’t really on the whole intentional living wave the same way. As a result, I haven’t come across anyone I’m willing to invest my time and energy into developing anything with. I’ve also come to realize that I need to cultivate the spheres of influence that I’d most likely find the type of person I’m looking for in because he’s definitely not in my current sphere. Can’t do the same thing — or in this case run in the same circles — and expect different results, right? This all takes time and I’m ok with that because, like my career, I won’t settle and don’t see the point in sacrificing time just because someone or something happens to be there. Let me be clear, I’m not opposed to dating, I’m open to getting to know people and if I come across someone to grow with awesome but, until I meet that someone, I’m OK.
I have a big life I’ve dreamed for myself and I know it’s achievable. Yours it too but we can’t hit pause on developing because “there’s time.” Dr. Meg Jay closed her TED Talk saying, “Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do. You’re deciding your life right now.” Let’s live to see our best lives.