I am a calendar person. Paper, always. As a little girl, I enjoyed crossing out the blank spaces with a black marker. The ink slid across the confined space and a small glimpse of exhilaration filled my young mind. I still cross out days in my At-A-Glance black calendar, but glee is wholly absent. My feet are planted in midlife and in this particular season, I’ve witnessed the ivy of time, crawling on those I know and don’t know, the unexpected striking with a cruel urgency and directing me to pay attention. Wake up, I whisper in a loud voice, a command to focus on whittling, stripping back the layers and assessing what it means to be whole in a world that at best is lived in floating fragments. In this season, I’ve made a deliberate intention to do what matters the most and seek company of those who give a passageway to help me evolve into a better person.

Turning inward means sitting with the quiet, quantifying what works and what needs to be shed. I am an avid and dedicated de-clutterer of my physical space, but I’ve extended this philosophy internally as well. This sometimes means confronting and sitting in uncomfortable spaces, listening to my gut, and acknowledging an approach or perspective isn’t working anymore. It also means admitting when I am wrong and vowing to act with grace or working toward making better decisions. In certain instances, I confess, I resist doing the hard work to make a change. It is easier to traverse a pathway that seems to flow, even if it doesn’t always feel right, because it works. The brokenness isn’t apparent yet, but yet I know it will arrive. Counting the days offers that reminder in a tangible way. I realize there will come a point when options are a magic of the past.

In the last few months, I’ve tried to embrace the word, “now.” If there is something I seek to experience or explore, I am not waiting, but moving forward to try to make it a more of an immediate reality. Crossing out the days means implementing urgency into my daily living. This means making every moment of my day mean something to me. Gazing at the sky. Having dinner with my family. Face-timing with my nephew. Cuddling with my daughter. Working on a piece of writing. Reading underneath the covers. Meditating. Running. Sitting. Listening to music. Laughing at my husband’s (corny) jokes.

I understand, with a depth, that the moments I am experiencing in this hour, minute and second, inhabit a place of contentment and joy. These are not moments that occur by accident, but ones I am orchestrating by identifying what matters the most in my life.

Crossing off the days means a purposeful paying attention.