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May 28, 2015

Time Travel and the Art of Intentional Living

darondickens-300Question: Han Solo, Captain Kirk, or Doctor Who?

There are probably three major camps that will come out of this question. One group includes those who have a clear favorite of the three names listed. The second will be those who answer simply…”Yes!” Then there will be those who answer the question with another question…”Wha?!?”

The beauty of this question is the added bonus of another question embedded within it. Besides asking if you prefer the swagger of Solo, the Over-the-Top of Kirk, or the multiple personalities of Who, the underlying question is “Are you a science fiction fan?”

To both layers I answer an emphatic, “Yes!”

Whether is takes the form of film, television, literature, or just conversation, I love the possibilities of science fiction. My favorite sub topic above all others is time travel (so, I guess Doctor Who pulls ahead after all). There are 172 separate blogs’ worth of things I could say about time travel and my love of the idea, but I will show a little self-restraint and focus on just one. That topic is living and seeing the world through the lens time travel.

If you could time travel – that is, if you could go back to an event from your past and do it over – what would you do differently? I have asked this question to all kinds of people, from all kinds of places, over many, many years. There is one answer that is expressed more than any other by far. Most would not change much. Most realize that your past experience has made a unique imprint on the present you. Even when the event was painful or traumatic or ended up horrifically (barring the untimely death of a loved one), most recognize the past as an important part of growth. The number one thing I hear from people that they would do if they could travel back in time and live a moment over, is to Be. More. Intentional.

Hear me, being intentional is not just about planning appropriately. Planning is important. Planning is trying to anticipate what is needed going into a situation for that situation to come out favorably. It is important to make sure you have enough gas to get you your desired destination. It is important to make sure you have the right supplies to sustain you on your mission. It is important to give yourself time to get where you want to go. All these things are important and worthy of their own blog post, but the people contemplating the changes they would make with the gift of time travel are usually not talking about planning better. They are talking about being present and purposeful IN THE MOMENT.

Just think about that. How incredible would it have been to be able to be more present in a crucial moment in your child’s life that you completely missed? How much of a blessing would it have been to avoid a misunderstanding with your significant other because you took the time to make sure the words you used were clear and spoken in the tone you intended? What a difference it would have made to be so aware and present that the memories of that seemingly routine moment when your child ran up to you grinning from ear to ear and hugged you were seared into your brain for the rest of your life. That is being present. That is being intentional.

Here’s the thing. You don’t have to wonder what it would be like. You don’t have to wait until someone invents a time machine. All you have to do is pretend that you have already lived this moment — the one you’re in right now — and you have traveled back in time with the opportunity to relive it. Pretend this is the ultimate #TBT — like you’re living in next Thursday, but you’ve been given the chance to return to this Thursday and have a do-over.

How can you be more intentional this time? How can you be more present right now?

Live life intentionally right now, like the special moment that it is.

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