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Reading Tsh's new book Notes From a Blue Bike caused some weird feelings for me. It made me kinda mad, something I rarely feel when reading. I'm certainly not angry at Tsh or anything that she wrote, but there was some obvious discomfort and discord within my soul.
Why? Why would a book about intentional living upset a person so? What does it even mean to live intentionally? By definition, "intention" is defined by Merriam-Webster as an aim or purpose; therefore, you could easily say that to live intentionally is to live life with a reason, not just letting life happen on its own.
For the past few years, I've done specific things to try to point my life in the direction I'd like to have it go. Of course, things don't always work out the way that we plan, but having a plan that may not work is better than having no plan at all, right? Boots and I worked hard for us to pay down our debts so we would be able to afford for me to stay home with Mayhem because that's important to us. I don't always succeed, but I try to aim for what we eat to be real food and not processed junk because I care about what we're putting in our bodies. I save the bones from chicken and collect vegetable bits to make homemade chicken stock. I line dry most of our clothes, usually because the dryer isn't working, but sometimes just because I'm starting to like it. And I'm cheap.
I'm angry because I'm comparing the life I have now to the life I want and have imagined. As much as we're doing on purpose to live a life slow and simple, there's an even longer list of what we're not doing.
Growing our own food would be even healthier and cheaper so I've tried to have a garden every year that we've lived here and short of planting it in the front yard or cutting all the trees down even with the ground, I just don't think it's ever going to happen. Our lot is just too shady. I'd love for us to have our own backyard chickens for eggs (and maybe to eat and make stock), but my law-abiding husband says that it's against the city's ordinances. Something that's a sore spot between Boots and I is our TV. I wish we could live without it because we have too much screen time, too little outside time. But if I want Mayhem's life to be different from other kids' I need to start by changing my own, even though I can't throw the TV out. I read this entire book on a screen as well as pecked out this blog post. I know I need to implement more screen-free days into my life so I will be forced to find other things to do. This is something I know I should do, but don't, (cue guilt). I have no desire to live anywhere other than America and the travel bug rarely bites me; however, one day when family vacations become a luxury we can afford, I'd like our pace to the destination to be slow as to allow opportunities to stop and discover whatever we see that catches our eyes instead of just blasting past, "Maybe next time we'll have time to stop."
These things are what Tsh describes as "No, not now," not, "No, never." My world doesn't have to fall apart because I'm not able to do all of the things I'd like to be able to do right now. I am a little competitive with myself (sometimes others) so I always want to do more and have a hard time not being in a hurry accomplishing things. Slow and steady wins the race, right? I think I need to reevaluate some of the things I want to do and maybe create a sort of timeline to calm me down. Nothing hard and fast, but specific things I'd like to be doing in five years or ten years down the road and what I can do now to propel us in that direction.
Do you live intentionally? Are you upset that things aren't progressing quite like you'd hoped? If you haven't even thought about what that means Notes From a Blue Bike is a great place to start. Perhaps you'll be angry too!
P.S. Though I haven't in years, Tsh makes me want to go ride a bike.
Notes From a Blue Bike is written by Tsh Oxenreider, founder and main voice of The Art of Simple. It doesn’t always feel like it, but we DO have the freedom to creatively change the everyday little things in our lives so that our path better aligns with our values and passions. Grab your copy here.