Designing a Life With Purpose

7 Mar

I love the blogosphere. So many times I’ve stumbled upon an amazing article, website, or image just by clicking through a link from someone’s blog post. Last week I accidentally (or maybe it was accidentally on purpose?) found Jess Constable’s blog Make Under My Life, and it couldn’t have been more timely. I’m going through a huge transition in my life and trying to figure out what to do next, so the concept of Designing My Own Life is obviously intriguing.

It was so inspiring to read about other people’s intentions, plans, and desires for their ideal life that I couldn’t help getting on board. After a lot of introspection and some deep but honest conversations with myself, I’ve come up with the following intentions for my life.

(Note: this is a long post so please excuse my wordiness, it just wasn’t something I could sum up in a few short sentences)

Work to Completion.

A very wise high school teacher once told me that I’m a fire-starter. He pointed out that I had more ideas than any student in the classroom but I wasn’t seeing them through to completion. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I still struggle with “fire-starter syndrome”. I usually have more than a handful of projects on the go at the same time, and most often something falls through the cracks and doesn’t get completed. This problem is evident in the bins of unfinished sewing projects, half done paintings, and almost finished blog posts stored around my home and on my computer.

Why don’t I finish what I start? To be honest, I’m not sure. Sometimes life gets in the way, sometimes I don’t think my work is good enough, and sometimes I’m afraid of being judged. But not anymore, I intend to see my work through to completion from now on. The first step is completing this blog post which has been patiently waiting in draft form for almost a week now.

Be Authentic.

I’m creative, energetic, fun-loving, and a little quirky, but I have really hard time showing that off. For some unknown reason I’ve always felt that I need to put up a front, never letting people see the real me. It’s something I’ve done since I was a teenager to fit in and feel accepted. It’s always been easier to be the person people wanted me to be rather than being myself.

There is a Oprah Winfrey quote on my vision board that says; “your life’s journey is about becoming more of who you are” and that is exactly what I intend to do. Starting this blog and posting pictures of myself for the whole world to see is really about learning to embrace and celebrate who I really am, my authentic self.

Own My Craft.

For as long as I can remember I have loved two things; art projects and writing. I’ve been crafting with modge podge and hot glue for years, and wrote my first chapter book when I was 9, but I never turned either of my passions into a career. I could blame it on my teachers, my parents, or my friends for not encouraging me but the truth is, I never believed in me.

This one is simple; I’m going to own my craft. I may not be the best artist, my clothing designs may not be fashion week material, and my writing might suck, but it’s mine and I love it. I’m not going to hide my skills anymore, I intend to create beautiful art everyday.

Live Laugh Love.

Almost daily I read inspirational stories about people living their dream lives and wonder why my life isn’t more fulfilling. Are those people luckier than me? Do they have more money than me? Maybe, but more likely they are designing the life they want. I haven’t really taken the time to plan the kind of life that I want before, so I’ve just gotten what the universe served up. After spending an afternoon with my deepest thoughts (and several lattes) I realized that all I really want is to live, love, and laugh everyday.

I have a feeling this one is going to be the hardest for me. I tend to move at such a quick pace that I miss the little details in life. Sometimes I forget how nice it is to sit and listen to my kids giggling (like there doing right now), and how  fresh flowers, romantic comedies, hot cocoa, and floral perfumes all make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. This year I intend to live to the fullest, shower love on my family and friends, and laugh daily.

Speak Up.

On January 1st I made a resolution to get involved with a charitable organization that helps girls in the third world. There wasn’t a specific plan, or chosen organization,  just a desire to make a difference. Unfortunately, on January 2nd life happened, I got busy and never followed through. I don’t have a good excuse for not acting on this intention (or any excuse for that matter), but I’m ready to take action now.

I’m one of four girls from an Indo-Canadian family, and am well aware that if I was conceived in India I may never have had a voice. Even today female infanticide is at epidemic levels throughout the world, and I for one have had enough. I intend to use my voice to speak up for women and girls around the world.

Shut Down.

My name is Raj and I’m an addict. I’m addicted to my iPhone, my laptop, and being connected 24/7. I honestly can’t remember the last time that I spent a technology free day, but I know it’s necessary.

Moving forward, I intend to shut down more often and learn to live in the moment. When I’m on the phone, checking my emails, or just “surfing” the net, life is passing me by.

Well that’s it for me, I hope you enjoyed reading my intentions for designing the life I want. I would love to hear your thoughts and some of your intentions for the coming year! Please take a moment to comment.




17 Responses to “Designing a Life With Purpose”

  1. Jess LC March 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    Thank you so, so much for such a well thought out, honest, hopeful and inspiring post! I can feel your “being” coming through the words you wrote!

    In fact, many (ok, most) of your intentions struck Susie (our Jess LC jewelry maker) and I and hit a chord. We want the same things for our lives that you do :).

    • rajthandhi March 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

      Thanks so much Jess! It was hard to be so honest with myself but it felt really good to hit publish on this post.

  2. @MeredithU March 8, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    Congratulations Raj on being true and honest in this post! I am going through some of the same things you mention above. So you are not alone! You will get used to putting yourself out there and see that there is a welcoming community waiting to cheer you on.



    • rajthandhi March 9, 2011 at 10:06 am #

      Thanks Merdith! I’m glad that I’ve taken the plunge and joined the blogging community and I look forward to developing great relationships 🙂

  3. cailen March 10, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    i really enjoyed reading your post. i’m a fellow march contributor for the DIY DYL.

    great advice : )

    • rajthandhi March 11, 2011 at 9:37 am #

      Thank you to everyone for showing so much love! I never realized that my thoughts would strike a cord with so many people.

      @Carla…It’s nice to hear that you are embracing fire-starter syndrome! I’ve started writing all my ideas down in one book instead of jumping in and starting to work on everyone right away. Hopefully that will help.

      @ Elena… I’m going to try shutting down completely at least one Sunday each month and after 9pm on weekdays, baby steps! Let me know how it goes for you.

      @Sarah….thank you for the link, I will be looking into a few charities this weekend and the Freedom Project is on my list.

      @Cailen….thanks for the shoutout 🙂

  4. Sarah March 10, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    Wow, I literally could have written this post myself, it’s so spot on with how I’m feeling in life right now and goals I’ve been mulling around in my mind.
    I don’t know if there is a specific organization that you’re looking into volunteering for/giving a donation to, but CNN has a project for ending modern-day slavery that really hit home with me. They have links to organizations you can support and lots of other information, if that’s the kind of direction you’re leaning.

    Good luck with all of the changes you are making!

  5. Elena March 10, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    Hi! I loved your post – as the other commenters said, I could feel the honesty in every sentence. I think a lot of us can relate to letting life pass us by as we’re on our devices all day every day, and not slowing down more often to just enjoy the moment. I loved the part about being authentic and believe that’s where I struggle too… not showing my true colors! I’ve been working on being more “honest” with myself and those around me. I’ve found it has increased my own self-confidence along the way too! Good luck 🙂

  6. Carla March 10, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    I can so relate to your first intention! I’ve come realize execution is not my strength. I’m an idea generator and a planner. I used to knock myself up about it but realized starting the fire is a beautiful strength in and of itself =) Celebrate it!

    Loved reading this!

  7. vmacandcheese March 11, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Raj, I found your post via Makeunder My Life (one of my fave blogs!). I could so identify with a lot of what you’ve written here. And now I know the term for my “disease” too — I’m a fire-starter like you! And it’s something I want to change as well. I just want you to know that this post was so inspiring to read this morning. I’ve been meaning to spend some time with myself and write out some of my own intentions, but have been putting it off. Your words have given me motivation to do it, so thank you.

  8. 17 Perth March 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Wow. Thank you for being so honest. I feel like I could have written this. I guess what I am trying to say is that I totally relate to how you feel on so many levels. I am also a “fire starter” and I believe it is because I questions all the time if I am “good enough”. But, this is inspirational and it really is about being the best you possible and not making excuses for that. Congrats on your revelations and know that in the blog world, I appreciate so much your honesty and vulnerability.


  9. Jennifer March 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Lovely post, Raj. My blog/life has revolved a great deal around “owning my craft” since writing my DIY DYL post – it’s inspiring and reassuring to read your post and know I’m on the right track 🙂

    PS Reading “fresh flowers, romantic comedies, hot cocoa, and floral perfumes all make me feel warm and fuzzy inside” made me want to rent a romantic comedy and make some hot cocoa. Thanks for the reminder that it’s the small things in life.

    All the best.

  10. Tanvi March 14, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Really enjoyed reading this … and I hope you do take a break from technology … every now and then .. it is truly liberating! 🙂

  11. Shannon April 15, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    I’m saving this article! It was so nice to meet you today, and I whole heartedly relate to probably about 90% of what you’ve said in this post.

    I can totally relate to how difficult it can be to truly be authentic. It’s not that we mean to be inauthentic, but sometimes it just takes a heck of a lot of confidence in our quirks and weirdnesses to be truly authentic.

    Plus us “artsy, crafty, always being inspired folk” have a way of denying our crafts because there are just so many more talented people out there that it makes us think “who am I to call myself a writer, or fashion blogger, or sewer.”

    And then there’s the whole finding inspiration in everything around us ordeal. Sure it’s a blessing but it’s also a curse – it’s like constant over stimulation the further you fall down blog rabbit holes!

    But if people like us stick together, we can persevere! Haha.


  1. march DIY DESIGN YOUR LIFE | Makeunder My Life - March 10, 2011

    […] Raj’s post is on Pink Chai. […]

  2. Friend Friday: Most Important Blogging Lessons « Pink Chai - March 19, 2011

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  3. when the going gets tough | Makeunder My Life - September 6, 2011

    […] like to share an excerpt from an MML reader email I received a while back. Raj, who also shared a DIY DYL, had this to share: … Last week my husband and I got some horrible news. He was laid off from […]

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