In our hectic lives, too often we are caught up in the hustle that we fail to see the purpose of it all. We become numb to our everyday lives. Almost drowsy from the anxieties of life. So how do we fight this drowsiness and live an intentional life?
I’m a scrooge this time of year. The decorating, the shopping, the hundreds of miles of driving (with a six-month-old in the back seat) aren’t activities I’m looking forward to. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, but sometimes the “traditions” leading up to this special day seem to get in the way of my normal routine.
Cutting down a tree, putting it into the corner of your living room, and watching it slowly shed needles for weeks doesn’t seem like it serves a greater purpose. But maybe it does.
Maybe this act (along with baking cookies, singing carols, giving gifts, etc.) is supposed to interrupt our life, and in a way, call to our attention the anxieties and routines which fill it.
Maybe these sore thumbs remind us it’s time once again to examine our own life.
The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living
Having routines in place is good. They are difficult to start, but once acclimated, can become hard to break. Even borderline addictive.
Every moment of my week is scheduled out. I know on 10:30 pm on Tuesdays I am editing my post to publish the following morning. Mondays at 12:30 pm I’m reading a book to better myself.
Nothing wrong with that.
But when things don’t go according to plan, when our routines are interrupted or changed, we become anxious, frazzled, and even a bit irritated.
Take for example this past Thanksgiving holiday. I watched a lot of television, shopped, talked, cooked, and even started a fire with flint and steel like my good ol’ Scouting days.
During those four days, I produced not a single piece of content. Not one blog post, not one podcast, not one single word.
I didn’t follow my normal routine. I fought back the pangs of guilt, telling me I’m missing out on something more.
But the only thing I missed was my autopilot mode.
Avoiding the Big Why
Autopilot is the way we avoid examining our lives. Keeping a safe and certain (no matter how hectic) routine is the sure way to avoid asking the one question we fear: Why?
We’re afraid of why. We hate it.
Asking why leads to acknowledging we’re not living up to our potential.
Asking why leads to uncomfortable, unforeseen change.
But asking why is the single most important question we can ask ourselves every day. Yet we avoid it and continue on our merry way (no Christmastime pun intended).
Like I said in the beginning of this post, December is filled with activities which interrupt our routines. Take advantage of this opportunity!
Now it’s Your Turn to be Intentional
It’s hard to put your routine on hold, but this December I want you to join me in doing the following:
- Slow down.
- Create space in your life to examine who you are and where you are headed.
- Spend more time with loved ones and friends.
- Set aside time to “waste.”
- Ask yourself why? Think about why you do what you do and look to eliminate the nonessential.
- Write out a list of goals for 2016 focused on becoming a better person.
Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” So before the clock strikes 2016, I hope we have a clearer picture of who we are and who we want to become, simply from taking time to examine our lives.