Monday, April 6, 2009

In Dire Need of a Surveyor

A blog I follow with an eloquent author admitted to feeling momentarily tapped** lately. He was temporarily experiencing difficulty coming up with additional topics in the general area of his specialty and invited his readers to respond with questions they would like him to answer.

I thought about his invitation and while there are several things about him and his life I am mildly curious about, those questions seemed intrusive, inappropriate. I have yet to see a Blogging Etiquette for Dummies book, but my own internal Emily Post, who sounds suspiciously like my mother, would have slapped my hand with a ruler if I’d been so impertinent as to type those questions out.

But I’ve felt a strange affinity for this blog ever since I came across it. Something about the voice of the author and the way he reveals his thoughts and his thought process in written words captures the imagination. So I took a couple of days and thought about issues we might have in common. Something I am grappling with that he might have some insight into. And I thought of one.

I have been pondering boundaries. To be specific, my particular, personal boundaries. Where they lie? Do I push them? Would I recognize a boundary if I saw it? What does it feel like to cross one? Will I know I've crossed it if I do? Do they even exist? I am not talking exclusively of moral or sexual or physical or mental or emotional boundaries. Rather, I am talking about them all, en masse. To me, they are interwoven and cannot be separated.

When my mind turned to this subject I was initially surprised. I assumed the delineations of my personal boundaries were marked years ago. Isn’t that what your teenage years and your 20s are for? Pushing the envelope and learning from the results? If I recall I did quite a bit, some might say an extreme amount, of pushing at that time, so the issue of my borderlines should have been resolved to my mind's satisfaction many years ago.

Evidently that is not the case. Something made me realize that if my boundaries were set in stone, then surely I would hit them periodically as I go through my day, recognize the wall for what it is, and step away. But try as I might, I can’t recall that ever happening.

This leads me with two distressing conclusions. Either I lead such a staid and predictable life that I have never come close to hitting the boundaries I established at a much younger age, or conversely I have no set boundaries or they are set so far out in the boonies that I will never bump against them. If the correct conclusion is the first, then I have wasted a lot of time being safe. If it is the second, the possibilities are overwhelming.

This is a mystery I have to solve. I have some conflicting clues to start with. I know that when I decide to do something, it is useless to try and talk me out of it, no matter how unwise my decision. I will be ruthlessly driven to go after it, regardless of the consequences. Fortunately this isn’t a common occurrence for me, or I would be divorced, unemployed or dead by now.

I can and often do become comfortable with the status quo, even if I believe the status quo could be improved upon. This tends to happen not when I don’t care about something. More often it happens when I don’t care enough.

I can’t recall that I’ve done anything I’ve felt ashamed of in a very, very long time. Which I’m afraid means I’m either frightfully dull or I have no sense of what is shame worthy.

I tend to make decisions quickly and move on. I very rarely second guess myself, often to my detriment. Nor do I get that feeling I have heard others speak of where the hair stands up on the back of your neck and you decide to rethink your plan.

I think these issues are all tied to how I perceive the boundaries of my life. I just don’t know what they all mean.

Meanwhile, the blogger whose inquiry I responded to has replied to my questions about how he defines his boundaries. I will incorporate his perspective into my clues and continue investigating. If any one else is grappling with this issue, I would love feedback from you as well.

To be continued ...

** This is an adult only site. If you are under 18, please don't.


Nancy J. Parra said...

This is a very good-thought provoking post. My daughter tells me I have no boundaries at all- and yet I lead a pretty dull life. Perhaps, knowing I have no boundaries, I bar the door...

Lulu said...

Thanks Nancy. It sounds as though your daughter and mine might have a great deal in common. I am a point of constant exasperation to mine. I've never had the courage to question her on this issue. Not because of what she might tell me about her boundaries, but what I might have to reveal about mine. She already worries that I will never grow up and behave as an adult. No sense adding fuel to the fire.