Intentional is my favourite word. Not terribly sexy or exciting, I’m afraid. But for a long time now, I’ve relished it. How it sounds and how it looks and how it’s a word used – fittingly – with certain purposefulness.
In 2009, Sameer and a few others picked a word for their year. I quite liked this idea, of choosing some term of reference for a fresh slate of days. Years (and time for that matter) are a curious thing for me – the notion of crossing one 365-day threshold to a next. It’s a concept that I’ve never really been able to wrap my in-the-clouds head around.
As years go, my 2009 was a bit of a blur. Of my own making, and I am gradually working that out. I told a good friend today that I don’t really remember March through June of last year, and I’m still so unsettled at the thought. But as I try to figure out why, I understand that losing my intentionality was part of my self-centred morose. As a rule, I am a quietly contented sort of person. I believe we play a hand in this little world we create on our little piece of planet, for better and worse. Sadness and confusion are not intentional. They are not something with which I’d try to paint my days.
Many years ago, I pulled a Dorothy Parker quote from a Real Simple issue as I sat on the long train to Windsor from Kingston – It’s not the tragedies that kill us, it’s the messes. (The editors were referring to ironing, not life, but what have you.) Life throws some really crappy things at us, some unexpected things. But the tragedies, I realize more and more, are not the instances in which we lose ourselves. It’s the creep, over time, the unintended complacency. The little messes that we haphazardly clean up and leave to sort out tomorrow. That’s what Dorothy had in mind, I imagine, as opposed to Real Simple’s untidy laundry closet.
My 2010 will be intentional.
In my actions, toward my family and friends, with my career, when I write and cook and create – and mainly in this deep-seated yearning I’ve always had to learn and explore and find a constant place of contentedness. A struggle to be meaningful and present sweeps me away sometimes. I worry I don’t have it in me to be at peace with me, whoever she is, if that makes any sense at all. I don’t think the need to be better will ever get easier, but I hope with each year I more willingly embrace this elemental shell I’ve inherited.
For last year’s words belong to last year’s languageAnd next year’s words await another voice.And to make an end is to make a beginning.
With this new year – this end and this beginning – I regain my intentionality: something, I’m afraid, that I unconsciously swept away without realizing at all.