I glanced at my calendar yesterday and it said 1st of June, and it took me a while to process what I just saw. We’re in June. Alright, that means that almost half of the year has already passed, and just slightly more than half the year is left.
In the past few months, my mind has continually returned to rest on the word “intentional”. It’s a recurring theme these days; one that I know I must pay attention to. It’s my word for this season, of that I’m sure.
During my visit home in Singapore last month, being intentional was a constant topic in my conversations with my brother, Ronald, as well as a couple of other friends. Between and after those conversations I’d ponder on what being intentional meant; and why it was so important to live an intentional life.
The word “intentional” means deliberate, planned, or designed – and from these meanings it is obvious that being intentional requires thought and deliberation.
It is not careless or thoughtless. Being intentional means we have to consciously make a choice for a particular reason, not simply flipping a coin and see if we end up with heads or tails. Doing something intentionally, or with intention, is to do something with purpose and objective.
You see, I believe that the moment we commit to living intentionally, our priorities become clear as the stars in a cloudless night sky.
We no longer feel the need to say yes to everything without even knowing why we’re saying yes (fear of being left out, or eagerness to please?). We no longer feel forced consider options that are not worth our time or effort or energy. We no longer blindly jump on the bandwagon, just because.
Instead, living intentionally translates into asking ourselves what is important to us, not simply looking at what is urgent (investing in education as opposed to just fighting fires). It makes us question our motivations behind our decisions to do or not do a certain activity (cultivating a habit of exercising as opposed to eliminating smoking). Each action and step is filled with purpose and reason, because that’s how life should be lived: with definition and intention.
I’m constantly more and more aware of the truth in this quote by Annie Dillard – “How we spend our days, is how we spend our lives.”
Indeed, if our lives are the sum of the events that take place during our days on earth, then it goes to say that what we choose to do in our day-to-day is of great importance. If we want to live a life well lived, then in my opinion, it goes that to say that we have to choose our decisions carefully and plan our actions with purpose and definition.
We have to live intentionally.
I’ll leave you for that thought for now. And in the meanwhile, here’s a recipe for a very simple but satisfying meal that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes – garlic butter shrimp with yellow squash noodles.
Start off by melting butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, before adding in minced garlic and string for a few seconds until garlic is fragrant. Next, place peeled shrimp in a single layer in the skillet and allow them to cook without moving them until the flesh is no longer translucent and the bottom side is golden brown. Flip shrimp over and allow shrimp to cook some more until the other side is also golden brown, then remove the shrimp from the skillet and reserve.
Now julienne the yellow squash into thin noodles with a julienne peeler (this is the one I love and recommend as seen in the pictures in this post). In the same skillet, place the yellow squash noodles and stir well for a few minutes until they have softened but not wilted. Add in salt and pepper to taste before returning the garlic butter shrimp back to the pan, and throwing in chopped parsley. Stir well before serving with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and enjoy!
- 20 jumbo shrimp, peeled with tails left on
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup of butter
- 2 large yellow squash, julienned into thin noodles with this julienne peeler
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ a lemon, for the juice
- Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- When butter is melted, add in minced garlic and stir quickly until fragrant before placing shrimp in a single layer in the skillet (make sure they are evenly spread out).
- Allow shrimp to cook without moving them until the flesh is no longer translucent and the bottom side is golden brown. Flip shrimp over and allow shrimp to cook until the other side is also golden brown. Remove shrimp from skillet and reserve.
- Using a julienne peeler, julienne the yellow squash into thin noodles.
- Place the yellow squash noodles to the same skillet and stir well for a few minutes until they are softened but not wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste before returning garlic butter shrimp to the pan and adding in chopped parsley, mixing well.
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice over before serving.