Written by Sara Fender
As life changes, and we adjust to new norms, it’s time we start to live with intention. Who knows what the future could hold?
I recently had a pretty big life change – and to clarify, I mean I officially have steady employment and for the first time ever, I am working a Monday through Friday, 9-5 job. There has definitely been a learning curve of having to wake up at the same time every day and go to the same place. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had a job – starting with a paper route when I was 10 years old, then in high school I worked at the two ice cream shops in town (sometimes on the same day), and then, I worked my way through the restaurant industry first as a hostess, then a waitress and eventually as a bartender for over a decade followed by, most recently, being a freelance writer and wardrobe stylist. I am still working in the fashion industry, working full time in a photo studio but, like I’ve already stated, going to the same place every day is a very different experience for me and I now see how it can be draining. All the jokes and memes finally make sense!
In order to counter the monotony, I have started several daily habits: first and foremost is my wardrobe. Just because I’m in a windowless warehouse studio seeing the same 10 people day-in and day-out does not mean I will ever succumb to “the system” and start wearing jeans and t-shirts every day. I just cannot. It’s not who I am. I actually only own one pair of denim jeans and I’ve had them since college. My modus operandi is showing up on a Tuesday wearing a red scuba circle ball-gown skirt from ASOS and a cream Jonathan Simkhai satin one-shoulder top paired with a pair of cream Converse high top sneakers. It just feels right.
My next habit started during the March quarantine last year (Happy First Birthday Covid Lockdown!), and that is meditating, journaling and setting my intentions for the day. It’s kind of a 3-for-1 deal and as daunting as it may sound, I only do it for 5-10 minutes. As soon as I wake up, before I check my phone or feed my cat (he waits very quietly and patiently) I sit up in bed and take in several slow deep breaths while stretching out my arms and neck. I keep my eyes closed during this practice and I repeat a mantra in my head. Some days it’s as simple as “today is going to be good day and you are going to be successful” or “I am strong and empowered and I’ve got this” or my personal favourite, “today I give zero fucks. In with the good, out with the bad.” Other days I might just repeat an inspirational quote that I recently saw on Instagram. It doesn’t really matter as long as it’s positive. I do this for a couple of minutes and then I grab my journal (conveniently located on my nightstand), and jot down anything that might be bothering me or that I want to work on for that day (“Today I will not let the little stuff get to me”) or, some mornings I jot down a list of errands or tasks that I need to get done that day or a random shopping list. The best part about this practice is that there are no rules and no judgement.
Next up on the routine is finally getting out of bed and getting ready. I lay out all my clothes the night before, complete with underwear and socks. I also pre-make my lunch and my iced coffee the night before as well, so that it’s a grab-n-go situation. I turn on upbeat music that makes me happy as I pretty effortlessly get ready for my day. Pre-planning everything really makes my mornings, and my attitude, that much easier and better.
I recently made a list of very specific items that I would like to manifest this year, personally and professionally. I’ve been listening to a lot more podcasts now that I have a daily commute and I have heard several on manifesting from the universe and I thought, it couldn’t hurt. I’ve always made a list of yearly goals but they are always pretty basic and vague. Apparently, I’ve been doing it all wrong. According to the experts, not only did I need to get super specific (even if it seems ridiculous and impossible) but I also needed to make multiple copies of said list and put it in different places and read it out loud every time I see it. I have it in the bathroom, in my closet, and in my notebook. I only put this into practice about a week ago, so if you see my name on the New York Times bestseller list, you will know that it works. Do you hear that universe? Not just any list, but the New York Times bestseller list! Please and thank you!
I try every day to not only do better but to also be better – to be better for myself, my community, and my friends and loved ones. But I also now know to give myself a break. Life is hard and shit happens. Just remember to be kind to yourself. I heard someone say once, that as women, when we hear our friends talking badly about themselves, we step in and stop them, yet, we hold ourselves in the same regard. It’s so easy to talk poorly about ourselves and tell ourselves we’re not good enough, but we would never allow our best friend to say that about herself. We would tell her she’s beautiful and smart and amazing. Even if you don’t necessarily believe that about yourself, you can convince yourself of it.
Practice your mantras, give yourself a break and live as intentionally as you can. We’re coming for you, 2021!!!