Hi, everyone, Jen here! Do you have big plans for the weekend? I can’t think of a better to kick it off than with an awesome Design Your Life feature, can you?
Today we have the lovely Rian of Truth and Cake. You are going to love her fresh point of view on life and how she lives it with intention. I definitely learned a lot from what she said and I think you will too. And if you haven’t visited her blog, please do, I think you will fall in love with it!
Sometime around 6th grade, I learned that a stiff upper lip and a flippant attitude were the keys to the cool kid kingdom: wear the right clothes, keep your guard up, act like you have all the answers. As an adult, I’ve spent a lot of time rewiring the part of my brain that gets defensive and know-it-ally. It’s a powerful thing to say, “I don’t have the answer” or “I’m not feeling great,” or “Hey, I really like you.” But, for a lot of us, it no longer comes naturally. What a different world we would live in if we regularly allowed others to see our vulnerabilities. The more I’ve worked at this intention, the more I’ve noticed the way it affects the people around me: letting my guard down gives others the courage to do the same. And that drives me to keep at it, even on the days when my ego’s screaming, “No, no, wear the cool kid jeans!”
I took this picture during a trip to Portland last summer–the hotel had turntables in every room and my husband and I took full advantage, jumping on the bed and dancing our hearts out to Prince and The Shins. I majored in theatre in college and play was so encouraged and so integral to what we did that when I finally made it out into the big, wide “real” world, my first thought was, “Why so serious?” For a long time I tried to adapt and cover up that part of myself by acting more “adult” and responsible. But eventually, I realized that I really, really wanted to do the running man. In public. Possibly while lip syncing. So now I do.
If you’d asked me at 20 what my life would look like today, there’s no way I would have said: “Oh, I think I’ll meet an awesome South African guy in Rome and we’ll move to Canada and get married and travel the world together.” Definitely didn’t see that one coming! I wouldn’t have the big, sometimes crazy life I have today if I hadn’t left room for unexpected possibilities and said, “Okay, let’s try that.” When life becomes overly packed with expectations and fillers, there isn’t a lot of space to say yes to the unexpected, the new, the glimmer of an idea that may be burning in the back of your mind. I try not to get too fixated on what I think the future is supposed to look like or who I ‘should’ become because I know that the very best parts of my life so far have been totally unscripted.
I do tabatas with my trainer, which are these 20 second bursts of exercise where you push, push, push and then rest for 10 seconds. I used to count my reps so that I could try to beat my score on the final round, until my trainer pointed out that I was totally missing the point of the exercise. The idea, he told me, was to go as hard as you could every single time as if it were your last. This was a huge lightbulb moment for me. I realized I was saving the best for last in many aspects of my life: I always left the best bite of food for the end of the meal, I was saving up all of my really good ideas for a rainy day, I would give things a half-hearted try. Now, instead of storing it up, I try to go all out, as hard as I can the first time. I eat the good stuff before it gets cold and use my ideas before they grow stale. Before, I was living with a scarcity mindset: if I use it all up, maybe there won’t be any more. But I’ve found that the opposite is actually true. Every time I hit ‘publish’ on a blog post or do a killer set of burpees, I take a deep breath and realize: wow, there’s actually more where that came from.
The trip to the grocery store, the boring car ride, the fight with my husband, the annoying paperwork: sometimes I feel a strong urge to hit fast-forward on life, to skip past all of the mundane and unpleasant crap and get to the “good” stuff. How often have I heard myself or someone else say, “I just have to get through these last couple days and then it’s the weekend, hurray.” It’s so easy to get trapped in the mindset of wanting to ‘arrive’ at that magical place where all of those juggled balls finally fall perfectly into place. But there are always going to be hiccups and boring tasks and fights. It’s part of the deal. Rushing through it isn’t the answer. So I try my best to show up for all of it, good or bad. Because this moment right here, this is it–messy, beautiful life.
Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews. And if you would like to be considered for a Design Your Life feature, please email Jen at hello(at)with-intention.com
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