Today is the fifth day of Kwanzaa, and it’s principle is Nia, or Purpose. I’m not going to pretend I have wise things to say about our overall purpose(s) in this life, or even my own purpose, because I’m not the type to think we necessarily have reasons for existing. I’m going to talk about purpose in a much smaller way, purpose in the everyday kind of way we often take for granted. As 2011 winds down, it’s a good time to reflect on all the things I did without meaning to, accidentally, or absent-mindedly over the course of the past year. My carelessness sometimes meant forgetting about a meeting or commitment I’d made, and sometimes my looseness of lip or hand got me in hot water with a friend. Sometimes I got drunker than I’d meant to, or procrastinated more than I’d meant to, or absent-mindedly starting biting my nails again when I’d been trying to grow them out. I made a lot of mistakes in the relationship that came and went during first half-ish of the year, often because of things I didn’t want to do or couldn’t figure out a way to do properly or just found myself doing because I thought I was supposed to be doing them.
And that list could probably go on and on, but the point is a lot of the things I do on a daily basis aren’t intentional. I am not always acting purposefully, and I want to work towards rectifying that. And acting purposefully/living intentionally doesn’t mean I can’t be spontaneous or have fun. It doesn’t mean I have to become a workaholic or analyze how every single second of my day is working towards advancing some larger goal. It just means that I should take more time to question whether what I’m doing, how I’m acting, or how I’m living is what/how I want to be, rather than just how I happen to be in the moment due to some circumstance or other. It means working when it’s work-time and playing when it’s play-time and appreciating the beauty of the things in my life (because it’ll be 2012 in 24 hours and a few minutes and in six months everything is changing). It means taking ownership of everything I do and say and think and feel, actively carrying each of these things as a reflection of myself and giving them the significance they deserve. Most of all, I think living intentionally or with purpose just means living actively, rather than letting other things take the wheel. I like being
on top in charge. I want to do more to remember that/stay there.