Living with Intention or Wandering?


There seems to have been a grand movement toward the “living with intention” ideology. Of course, every generation believes that they are the first ones to think of it. Some use traditional philosophies or religious teachings to take the step toward living intentionally. Others reject the traditional, as it feels stifling and rigid with “should” or “don’t” around ever corner, guilt and shame being the motivator.

Some struggle for a lifetime, unable to see the joys of life through the challenges faced, often going to their graves feeling that their lives had no meaning or purpose, as defined by others’ definitions. Others accept their plights, taking on martyrdom as their sole purpose so others will not have to suffer the same unpleasantness and can live happily.

Then there seems to be those who have it all, exempt from the tragedies that have befallen others. They are born with societal standards of beauty, health, and success. If (when) they do find themselves in tough times, it is often hidden and rarely shared for fear of judgement by others or tarnishing the image they have worked so hard to maintain in their attempts to protect the status that they enjoy.

Each and everyone of us struggles. We humans are the ones who decide (and define) who are more deserving of those struggles.

Because we are bombarded by the definitions that others have piled upon us, it is often difficult to know what living intentionally means to us, as individuals. We are too busy trying to follow others’ acceptable versions of those intentions.

Some will choose a different path altogether, one that is seen as a wanderer or “dancing to the beat of a different drummer.” They are often rejected by family, friends, and society for being an  embarrassment. Years or decades later, they are still talked about behind their backs, and discussed as pitiful creatures who have not found their way.

The trouble with this is that the basis of these discussions is on very old perception, based on limited knowledge. It is often accompanied by an active refusal to seek new knowledge and understanding.

For the person who finds him- or herself as the wanderer, living without the intention that others think is acceptable, it is rather easy to fall into a habit of feeling unworthy or lost. It can be a challenge to find the meaning and purpose.  Perhaps, it is not in finding it; rather, in recognizing it when it shows up.

In the last few days, I have experienced some of those recognizable moments, which are evidence that I am, indeed, living with intention.  I will share more of this in my next post.

Until then, please remember J.R.R. Tolkein’s words describing Aragon…

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.



 Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954), The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), “Strider”, ISBN 0-395-08254-4

Photo credits:  Public domain photos via Pixabay

Copyright:  Author, Coral Levang, 2016. All rights reserved. May be used with permission and proper citation.





8 thoughts on “Living with Intention or Wandering?

  1. Gary Mutchler

    The path less travelled or “wandering” seems to be a direction that some don’t understand but for others it is scenic. The old roads allow more time for slowing down and meandering along a less travelled path which for some of us is how we finally arrive at our intended destination. The feelings of unsuccessfulness as you pointed out are generally due to the ideals of those around that took the straighter path and were by their measure more successful. It is also true that some due to, for lack of a better term, peer pressure end up settling and then later wish they had taken the other fork in the road.

    I am going to say to you that your writing was good. I know where I wanted to go but there I go wandering.

    Thank you,


    1. There are times that I wonder if my life would have been much different had I chosen a different Road. But it really does no good to go back because it doesn’t change anything we cannot Retreat; we are on a one-way Street. And all the roads go in the same direction.. though it would have been nice to be recognized and have the fruits that some enjoy, I wouldn’t change my life for anything.

  2. Dina

    I’m not sure it falls into the category of living-with-intention vs. wandering vs. lost, but I was struck by what you’ve said about struggles, and the visibility of those struggles to others. I was visiting relatives last week, and one of my cousins, who has been struggling with her daughter’s decision to adopt a child (and her own fears that she won’t love an adopted grandchild like she would a biological one), started complaining that her sister didn’t understand her struggles, because her sister has “this perfect life where everything happens the way it’s supposed to”. I happen to know that her sister’s life isn’t so perfect – her sister has been struggling with accepting her own daughter’s decision to never have children – neither biological, nor adopted. When I reminded my cousin that her sister’s life isn’t so “perfect” and that she had her own struggles to deal with, she actually said, “well, that’s not the same thing”. I think some people hide their struggles because they don’t want to burden others with them; others hide them because they know they won’t be taken seriously by some who have trouble seeing beyond the tips of their own noses.

    1. When it comes to our struggles, we certainly see them from our own perspective. Unfortunately, far too many of us do not seek to understand, but only to be understood.

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