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My word for the year is ‘intention’.

It’s a bit weird to be talking about words for the year in August, but I only decided it a couple of months ago. I mean, this year’s such a mess, it doesn’t matter, right?

Time’s behaved in a strange way this year. Post-lockdown, I felt a bit like Sleeping Beauty, where time had paused for the inhabitants of the castle but the vines outside continued to grow up around it.

I was stuck at home with my almost-three-year-old while her dad was manically busy with work, and the days were filled with whatever used up time: a walk, baking, TV (so much TV!). Sound familiar?

Anyway, I started a habit of mindless internet scrolling on my phone in the evening after she was in bed. And I’d get to 10pm and be exhausted, and have no idea where my evening went, or what I’d been reading. Also sound familiar?

But as much as it felt like time was paused, it wasn’t. The days slipped by, then the months, and the trees changed colour, and the weather cooled, and the year wore on. And when I realised this, I decided to change, too.

I chose to be more intentional. I started asking myself, ‘does this serve me’? Does this Reddit rabbit hole serve me? Nope, put the phone away. Does watching this on TV serve me? Yes, because you’re enjoying the quiet time. Does this cup of peppermint tea serve me? Absolutely! How about that G&T in the cupboard? Not tonight, it’s too late, but tomorrow you’ll enjoy it more!

Acting with intention isn’t about only ever doing productive things. That sounds exhausting. But it’s stepping away from those wormholes that suck time away, and trying to replace it with something that adds more to your life, and which – this is key – is your choice.

So far, it’s working. The phone usually goes in another room after dinner and I’ve intentionally picked up other things to do – a Netflix series, a craft project, a book. They’re not necessarily improving activities, but by acting with intention, I’m feeling a lot less like time is being stolen from me.

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