The Old Man and the Youth Hostel

There was a British man named Adam. He had recently retired, he’d been divorced for three years, and he felt his life was turned upside down. He was twisting and turning in it, trying to get himself upright and on his way again. One day, almost by a process of elimination, he decided to travel. He took a train from England north to Edinburgh, Scotland’s capitol, to change his scene and hopefully his frame of mind. He chose to stay at an independent youth hostel on a bustling street in Old Town.

After checking in, he walked the streets, took some pictures of the ageless and modern architecture, and had a couple pints at a busy pub. But he felt he was going through the motions, by himself, and his sightseeing felt devoid of meaning. It wasn’t until he returned to the youth hostel that he found what he was looking for. The hostel’s lobby bustled with young people soaking up the free wifi, Skyping home, chatting sporadically with their traveling partners.

Their youth struck Adam. They seemed so free and unchained, courageously and irreverently taking life in their hands to adventure. They seemed comfortable, fully immersed in their shared aura. Adam stood admiringly in the hall with a twinkle in his eye and awe on his face. He wanted what these young people had. He felt their energy course through him, and the last thing he wanted to do was sleep.

He bought a pint and just sat in the young ecosystem, trying to capture their energy by observation and osmosis. He thought about his long life and how he wished he had been more carefree, more adventurous, more preoccupied with cultivating relationships and experiences than possessions, career, and wealth. He stayed up until the last of these young travelers stumbled to their bunks. As he laid down in his own bunk, with eyes wide open in the dark, he knew he hadn’t solved his confusion about life, but he was certain he had gained some valuable perspective and he was closer to finding his way.

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The Essence of Life

Today I summed up my current view of the essence of life: It’s all about figuring out what you need, what you want, and how to secure those things without ever sacrificing the things you need.

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The Purpose of The Intentionalist Reexamined

After I showed my sister (the English major) my newly created blog she said, “I really like it.” She then proceeded to gently offer “If you ever want to improve your writing, you might want to read Elements of Style again.” Humph. After a moment of disappointment, I reminded myself that my sister is a literary genius and I’m an unadorned, functional writer. And then I felt okay again. That made me rethink the purpose of The Intentionalist.

In my first post, I somewhat unthinkingly claimed the purpose of the blog was to practice my writing. After all, that’s what blogs are for right? Well, that feels a lot like work, and I’m not particularly interested in laboring extensively on my writing–I think it’s good enough the way it is right now, and there are other things higher on my priority list.

Another main function of blogs is to share your views/research/opinions with others that (hopefully) care to read them. This is the hope I have for my blog. I’ve always enjoyed bouncing around big life questions and thoughts with friends, but thus far, it has been a small circle. I hope to extend this circle with these posts, to make the thoughts and questions available to a wider range of people and hopefully learn from any responses that they may generate. So, with that, I am pleased to announce, the purpose of The Intentionalist is to share, not to practice writing.

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The Rain Place

Rain has a profound effect on me. As it falls, it softens the surroundings, dims the sun’s light with clouds, and brings people to shuffle quickly to get inside. It disrupts routine and makes me come to a quieter inner place. A place close to what I imagine hypnotism or meditation bring. A stillness that makes me feel that I am closer to my essence, though I’m doing little actual thinking at all. Whether I’m outside walking in it, or inside rain-streaked windows looking out, I just am. I just am, in the rain.

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The Value of Exercise Realized

It sounds elementary, but I’ve really come to appreciate the value of regular exercise. Not a whole lot is needed, but it feels great when your body gets acclimated to regular activity. Your blood rushes, your lungs pump the air in and out, and you can’t help but feel a certain happiness.

Now, it is necessary to separate the imposed (and sometimes ruthless) regimen of exercise from organized athletics with this individual activity. At least for my personality, I can quickly become disillusioned and dread something I’m told to do, but I don’t want to. On an individual basis, you call the shots, pick the pace, determine the finish line. It’s internally driven, not externally. It’s intentional. 😉

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A Beginning

In an attempt to practicing my writing, I hope to open to others the little things that inspire me, thoughts that strike me, and important nuggets I discover in my readings or interactions with others. I hope you find them valuable, and in a small way they help you live a fuller, more intentional life.