Always do what you are afraid to do. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

The bracelet is small, tiny, just a sliver of silver . . . “This reminds me of you,” K says. I lean down and look closer. She turns it away from the window’s glare – “Live with intention.” I have never been paid a better compliment.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s 4pm, and I’m tired. A long day of answering emails and sorting papers and “building a platform.” Not enough time spent in writing and thinking and reading and talking. I just want to fall into a chair, turn on the TV, and forget the rest of the world.

But that’s too easy, and I know in a few hours I will regret that choice and the bad food that comes with it. I know I will be better to go cut up some vegetables, make some dinner, read a few pages of Marilynne Robinson, and relax on the deck with my meal. That is the intentional choice, the one I’d make if I didn’t let entropy carry me through the day.

Living with intention is hard. It requires more energy and thought than our culture, than I always want to give. It’s so much easier for me to just eat meat in this town where even the green beans are cooked with ham than it is for me to be intentional about my food choices and live into what I believe about factory farming.

It’s so much easier to let myself be swept away by the posts on Facebook than it is to buckle down over chapters and scribble out pages and pages of text, decorating my words with arrows and mark throughs.

It’s so much easier to shop at the big box store where everything is right there than it is for me to visit several small stores owned by friends and where every visit involves a conversation.

It’s so much easier to just agree or stay silent in a conversation about same-sex marriage or racism when every one else in the room shares an opinion. To listen instead of question. To let people assume I agree.

It is so much easier to let inertia carry me through a day that looks like everyone else’s from the outside. Three meals, 8 hours of work, a few hours in front of the TV. Meat and potatoes.

It’s so much easier, but it’s never better. Not for me.

Better is vegetarianism and writing until I cry and local stores and working all hours and sleeping when I want and speaking my opinion about the nature of love and eating handmade cider donuts at 3pm because I want to, because I choose to. That is better.

When I sell this book, I will tattoo on my inner arm – “Live with intention.”

What is one thing you would do today if you were to live with intention rather than entropy?