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What an extraordinary time to be alive. With 2021 well underway, it appears the highly anticipated global renovation from unprecedented to predictable times is still under major construction. Taking this new year as a moment to inspect the blueprint of my life, I’ve begun to recognize one missing design specification that has been causing a delay in my personal build: intentionality.

Intentionality helps us navigate the purpose and importance of what we do in these moments of uncertainty. For the month of February, a time recognized for Black history and the pivotal moment when many New Year’s resolutions are abandoned, I decided to transform my aspirations into something better for myself. This blueprint is not designed to be set aside after a concentrated phase of effort. Instead, it represents the habits deserving of deliberate demolition, the wellness regimen required for positively rigorous rejuvenation and the tapestry of my African American heritage warranting purposeful preservation.

In case you find these components worthy of adding to your own custom remodel, let’s have a closer look at the design plan — because now is the time for us to invest in our self-worth, with intentionality.

Photography by Shayla Owodunni

Deliberate Demolition

Full of hope for tomorrow, I entered 2021 in a state of residual exhaustion. If there was one area of my floor plan ready for deliberate demolition, it was my deteriorating no-rest-for-the-weary foundation. Coming to terms with the high expense I had paid in 2020 for that design flaw, I’ve set out to engage in a habit-breaking demolition day. I’ve sketched out what is overcrowding my life’s design — known distractions, commitments I can no longer fulfill, certain behaviors I need to break up with — and the phased approach required to make these new absolutes a sustainable build. Everyone deserves a regularly scheduled demolition day (a day that pairs particularly well with coffee and croissants).

Rigorous Rejuvenation

At the start of the coronavirus outbreak, I became the poster child for the hurried acquisition of fitness equipment and influencer-approved virtual memberships. With a successful demolition plan underway, now it’s time to rejuvenate my life’s blueprint with fresh wellness practices. Wellness to me looks much simpler now, with scheduled moments to move, interact and relax. Designing intentionally means making consistent time for self-maintenance and fulfillment.

Purposeful Preservation

“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.” These words by the founder of the original Negro History Week, Carter Godwin Woodson remind us that a significant cornerstone of intentionality is understanding your why. With origins dating back to 1915 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of emancipation, Black History Month was formally recognized in 1976. This is a designated moment to celebrate achievements by Black Americans and to recognize their central role in U.S. history.

This journey of intentionality is equipping me with the permits to carefully preserve the joy, strength and dignity instilled by my lively lineage. By conducting a structural evaluation of my life to understand just what I’ve inherited, I’m uncovering intentionality at every corner of my ancestral blueprint. I am more proactively celebrating the contributions of the relatives, neighbors and friends who have sacrificed for me. Choosing integrity when no one was watching, depending on God for strength, and not being defined by their adversities are integral components of the solid foundation they have laid before me. Their remarkable resilience embodies what it means to triumph with intentionality. This legacy — a moral fabric for excellence — has created a tapestry I am honored to purposefully preserve.

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