Boundaries, Fences and Margins

By on March 2, 2012

By Sandra Bennett –

For most of us, life is crazy busy but, here’s the secret…life is only as crazy busy as we choose and allow it to be! WOW!

Want to read that again? Life is only as crazy busy as we choose and allow it to be. As a new widow, I’ve learned (re-learned) to set boundaries. I’ve learned that “NO” is a perfectly good and acceptable word to use. The phrase, “No, that’s not acceptable” has stood me in good stead when dealing with hospital personnel, corporate employees, neighbors, friends and family. Just because someone asks me to do something, does not mean I have to do it; it’s my choice to say, “no”.

There are a good many people who don’t have boundaries in their lives, and the lives of their family members, suffer because they don’t have any, or enough, boundaries. Perhaps you know someone who, when they bring a new article of clothing into the house, an old article of clothing goes to the thrift store. That’s the way I am with boundaries; when someone asks me to do something, after consideration, if I say “yes” then I must give up something else I’ve been doing.

It doesn’t matter if it’s volunteer work, a class I’ve been taking or getting together for lunch with a friend. I can only do so much and, chances are, if I’m over-doing then I’m doing something, perhaps several something’s, not very well. When Dave was alive, my focus was on Dave, family and home and my time was both used and donated always within the realm of how it affected Dave, our family and our home.

Fences are meant to keep the world at arm’s length and things out that you don’t want in. I have fences and all of them have gates with locks. If you don’t personally have good fences with gates that lock, you’ll  need to start building them. One way is by turning off all phones at mealtime; yes, that means land lines and mobiles. No texting, calling or talking when the family is sharing a meal and turn off the televisions and radios as well. Have a set time for meals. When we were growing up, we had breakfast together at 7:00 a.m.; that meant Daddy could still get to work on time and we children would have time to gather books, bags and walk to the school bus stop.

When we were very young, Mom didn’t have an outside job so her days were spent tending to the needs of the family and at supper time, 5:30, we’d all sit down and share the last meal of the day. We knew better than scheduling anything during mealtime other than eating; nothing was more important than our family sharing a meal and it’s such a shame families have forgotten the importance of gathering together as one in this frosty ole world.

Building margins into my day means there are more opportunities for “random acts of kindness”. Although, can someone please tell me when being a nice person and treating others the way we’d like to be treated became“random acts of kindness”? Recently, leaving the farm 45 minutes early for a 30 minute drive to town meant I could detour and let a neighbor know he had a calf outside the fence and wandering around the road. It meant I could take a moment and catch up with another neighbor on the historical pictorial book our community is putting together.

Having a margin of time meant I was in town early enough to get a breakfast biscuit and something to drink…a small treat that reminded me I’m worth the effort and still let me get to my meeting a few minutes early.

Life is crazy busy but putting up boundaries, building good fences and setting margins allows me to “control” the part of life that I can control. It allows me to enjoy life and take advantage of those opportunities that present themselves like small gems. It gives me good memories and warmth in a world that can be cold. In the long run, it gives me time…the gift of eternity.

 

After more than four decades, Sandra Bennett’s dream of living on a farm came true, and now lives her dream at Thistle Cove Farm. She writes, photographs, and plans her next travel adventure while teaching workshops in Increasing Small Business and Farm Income; Networking and Partnering and Fleece Management. She’s taught at University and in Russia, Armenia, Georgia and at different fiber festivals in the eastern USA.  Dave, her beloved husband, passed away in 2011 so now Sandra is learning financial management. Please visit Thistle Cove Farm , her lifestyle blog: http://thistlecovefarm.blogspot.com/, and Wife to Widow blog: http://www.1wifetowidow.blogspot.com/ where she helps you be “proactive, not reactive.” 

About Thistle Cove Farm

After more than four decades, Sandra Bennett's dream of living on a farm came true, and now lives her dream at Thistle Cove Farm. She writes, photographs, and plans her next travel adventure while teaching workshops in Increasing Small Business and Farm Income; Networking and Partnering and Fleece Management. She's taught at University and in Russia, Armenia, Georgia and at different fiber festivals in the eastern USA. Dave, her beloved husband, passed away in 2011 so now Sandra is learning financial management. Please visit Thistle Cove Farm , her lifestyle blog: http://thistlecovefarm.blogspot.com/, and Wife to Widow blog: http://www.1wifetowidow.blogspot.com/ where she helps you be “proactive, not reactive."

4 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Boundaries, Fences and Margins