Some time ago I posted about getting ready to start learning Python. In fact, it was several months ago. August, to be exact. Since then I have made exactly zero progress on it. I STILL don’t know exactly why. But something interesting has happened: I started getting intentional.
I also posted recently about the podcasts I listen to. One of the podcasters, Michael Hyatt, talks often about being “intentional.” Dave Ramsey says the same thing. Both of them drive the point about not letting life happen to you. It’s about not being a victim, even of yourself, of your fears and your pride and your insecurities, your past, your bad influences, not being a victim of anything.
Now, I gotta tell ya, I started a post on the websites and blogs I follow, but it got WAY too long; I don’t have an accurate count of them, but I have them aggregating into an RSS feed reader and I just read them as they appear in the reader. I read several on personal finance, several on survival and preparation, several on politics and news, several on technology, a big bunch on self improvement, and one very special one on photography. Some of these very broad categories end up with posts that lap over into other categories, and over the course of several months, I found myself on the receiving end of what felt like a pepper spray assault of admonitions to become INTENTIONAL.
It started with our finances. Most of the time, when we’re floating along dumb and happy, we require something to jolt our psyche to effect a change in our lives. Had this jolt happened to me personally, I don’t know that I would be as “together” as the person is to whom it DID happen. A friend at work found himself in the position of having to deal with caring for an ailing wife, while at the same time having to deal with the “stuff” of everyday life. The trouble with that was that the wife was always the one who dealt with the life “stuff.” I resolved to not let that happen to my husband. I made a plan to get all our “stuff” into one easy-to-find place, and I have made impressive progress with that, considering how scattered some of this “stuff” is. Oh, the records are all in our home, but the accounts themselves are all across the country, due to 35 years of working for different employers and having different pension and other retirement accounts. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s coming together. The next step is documenting the websites of the accounts and the logins and passwords so that if something happens to me Tommy can continue to keep up with the “stuff” without having to wonder where everything is.
It’s a funny thing about getting intentional: it spreads and blooms and flows over into other areas of your life. I started walking at lunchtime. I only get a 30 minute lunch break, but I assure you in August that’s all I’m good for anyway. I started making a couple of trips a week. Then I got it up to three a week. Then four, taking Fridays off. When I started out, I had to make myself do it three times a week. I had to force it every day. Then I started adding a bottle of water to the journey, sometimes half a bottle in the morning hours before I go and then refilling it just before I take off on my trek. Now I actually look forward to the walk, every day. This week I missed Tuesday because it was raining, and I really DID miss it. It took several months, but by becoming intentional about it, it has become not just a habit, but one I enjoy very much. I can hoof about a mile and a half in 30 minutes, giving myself a few minutes at the beginning to change out of work clothes into workout clothes, and a few minutes on the back end to change back. My speed has picked up, to the point that I have been able to add a trip around the park at the far end of the walk and still make it back within the 30 minutes.
And this week it spread to Python. I ran out of steam for fighting against the learning process. I’ve been carrying my laptop and the book around with me, but I just haven’t been able to talk myself into setting my fingers on the keyboard for it. Last few days, I opened the book and really settled down to study something that had stumped me the last time I studied it. I typed the code into the editor, saved it, ran it, corrected the errors, saved it, ran it again, corrected more errors, saved it, ran it again, and it worked! Then I typed the code in again as the author broke the segments down and explained each part. Guess what—I got it! I got INTENTIONAL with Python, just as I had gotten INTENTIONAL with my walks, and just as I had gotten INTENTIONAL at knowing where we are financially.
I’m excited about getting back to Python again. I’m excited about feeling so great about walking. I’m excited about knowing our financial situation down to within a few dollars on any given day. And I’m confident that by continuing my INTENTIONAL activity in each of these areas, I will make measurable progress in each. And I wonder where my next INTENTION will take me.