What does it mean to be intentional? For me, the definition has evolved and developed over the years depending on my circumstances. For the briefest of brief back stories… my husband and I have lived in three different large cities since 2017. We hopped around a good bit for his job and, having no kids (aside from a Corgi named Babs), we relished the freedom and opportunity to experience new places.
During those times of change, being intentional meant taking the time to reach out to family and friends to stay in touch – whether in the form of a phone call, text message, or email… this is something I actually pride myself on being very diligent about. It is alarmingly easy to lose touch with people over the years, and any relationship takes time and effort to maintain. That said, I have also noticed that as life goes on, I tend to place value on some relationships more so than others. Being intentional about connecting with the people who “fill my cup” has become so much more meaningful.
Which leads me to present day…
We have now been in Nashville for over a year and we’re setting down some roots. It is so refreshing to be part of a community of people who all seem eager to welcome new faces (because let’s face it, a LOT of us are transplants), and offer support however they can. I’ve obviously learned a thing or two about making new friends, given all of our cross-country moves. To find and build those meaningful relationships, I have challenged myself to go much deeper than the ice-breaker small talk that can feel all-too comfortable. I think it’s also been critical for me to step outside of my comfort zone and attend events where I know very few people, if anyone at all. The older we get and the less we’re forced into social situations (i.e. classrooms or other organized group scenarios), the more awkward it can become to just walk up to someone and initiate a conversation. It takes practice and often, patience.
I also think it’s interesting that we now live in this weird digital age where it isn’t uncommon to befriend a like-minded person through, say, Instagram. There are quite a few local friends that I’ve met through blogging and social media, but I think the challenge in that situation is to eliminate the barrier of a screen between the two of you. Invite that person to coffee and get to know them. That is an intentional act and some of the connections I’ve made by doing this have been invaluable to me, both personally and professionally.
I can’t help but think of one of my favorite modern-day philosophers, Ferris Bueller. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” I think the same mindset goes hand-in-hand with making intentional connections – make the time and take the time and you never know what amazing connections you can make.
Erin is a native of South Carolina, where she attended Clemson University. She has a diverse marketing background, and currently works to help brands build their individual identities and share their stories with broader audiences. In her spare time, she creates content for her lifestyle blog, bushel + peck, which focuses on personal style, travel, food and much more. She also loves to travel to fun places, read good books, cook delicious meals, and spend time with her husband (Dan) and Corgi (Barbara Bush, aka Babs). Follow Erin on Instagram: @ebgabri