These days there is a lot of talk about living a life with intention.
What exactly does that mean?
There seem to be numerous ways to define intentionally, some of which can be very deep. In thinking of running errands intentionally I settled on: an attitude of purposefulness, with a commitment to deliberate action and with an awareness of what one is doing.
Now, you may ask, where did this topic come from? Well, let me clue you in. Saturday afternoon I headed out to run my errands. I had my list in hand and had piled all the things I needed to return into the car. (That’s a story for another day.) Several of the tasks I needed to accomplish was a grocery store stop to pick up groceries for Easter brunch, pick up a few Easter gifts for my oldest son, and return items I recently purchased but didn’t love.
I don’t know about you, but running errands is not on my list of favorite things to do as I would rather tackle the stack of books I’d like to read, but some days you just have to do what you’ve gotta do.
Over the past year, I have made it a practice to be mindful and intentional in my every day. I look around when I walk and really pay attention to my surroundings and interact with people along the way.
One of my “endearing qualities” (as a friend and I used to call our annoying habits) is that I love to interact with people (even complete strangers) and strike up a conversation with them.
On this day, I interacted with a biker looking dude with a list in hand just like me. We exchanged a few words, chuckled over our lists, and moved on. Come to think of it, I hope he didn’t think I was hitting on him. I have heard that grocery stores are big up joints for older people. YIKES! I digress.
I had a conversation with the cashier, and she lit up when I commented on her cute hairstyle. We chatted about her day, and I wished her a good evening.
Next was the cashier at Walmart who seemed a little grumpy, he was a young guy. I couldn’t get a smile out of him, but he seemed surprised when I asked him how his day was going, and I could see that it gave him pause.
At this point, I was getting a little tired so I decided I would head back home and do all my returns later in the week. I walked out to the parking lot and noticed that a car had its hatchback open. I’m thinking why would anyone leave their hatchback open? As I got closer to the car, I realized that it was my car! Now, the reason I was not immediately aware of this was that I was rear-ended recently and while my car is getting repaired, I’m driving a rental.
The key to this vehicle is different from mine and I must have accidentally pressed the button to open the hatch as I was walking away, with ALL my groceries and stuff to return for all to see and grab if they were so inclined!!!
As I walk up to the car, I notice that there is a family (husband, wife and two teenagers) standing by the car. Apparently, they stood by the car, had the employees try to page me (which of course I didn’t pay attention to because it wasn’t my car) because they didn’t want anyone to take my stuff. WOW! I was amazed that anyone would do that while I was taking my ever-loving time in the store. I’m not sure how long they were there, as they quickly left to go into the store, but boy am I grateful for their kindness.
I like to think that this episode was a bit of Karma. I was intentional about how I interacted with everyone I encountered that afternoon and in turn these kind people looked out for me.
What is your attitude when running errands? Are you intentional about your interactions or are you trying to check something off your list? I would recommend trying the course of intentionality. It feels good to make someone smile, and I like to believe that it makes them feel seen in this busy world.
Action Step: Make it a point to comment to the cashier at a store next time you are running errands. I will venture to say it will make both of you smile.