Intentional Habits

second year jennings brooks

photo by kelsey dabrowski

photo by kelsey dabrowski

I have an extremely bad habit: I can’t go into Barnes and Noble without leaving with at least 6 more books than I intended (don’t pretend you haven’t done it too). Everytime I get home, though, I put them on my shelf and promise myself that I will read all of them...eventually. This same cycle happens over and over again until I find myself with an overwhelming stack that resembles a book lover’s Tower of Pisa. Yikes. The saddest part is that I never fully appreciate each work for its singular beauty when I try to race to finish my stack. Because I’m not intentional with my books, I never truly get to know them.

I’m the same way with people. I love them and am just as much of a people person as I am a book lover. That means I overcommit myself to them just as much - maybe even more - than books. Because there are so many amazing, wonderful and fantastical people to meet in this world, I need to be best friends with every one of them - right? Wrong. I’ve learned that it is literally impossible to be intentional with every book you read, every action you make, and every person you meet. To put it simply: You can’t do it all. That’s a hard reality to face. You meet five amazing new friends, but in reality you will only have the time, energy and capacity to truly befriend one. One! It’s disheartening, isn’t it? Conversely, though, if you choose to pursue the one with more depth and intentionality than shallowly pursuing the other 4, won’t that make the greatest impact? It requires intention to understand and appreciate someone for their gifts and beauty, yet intention is an act that can only be narrowly focused. The trick is to rest easy in the truth that while you may not pursue that person on a deeper level, someone else will. By not unlocking that narrative, you open that door to others who may be seeking it more intently.

So while I may never stop overspending at Barnes and Noble, I can become content in the stories I choose to personally invest in.