IMG_0142Boundaries, personal space, ownership, territory—the list of those issues which impact our nature change from culture to culture. I grew up with two sisters, the three of us sharing a room. Just the other day a friend mentioned “the line” which I remembered not only from our bedroom, but from anywhere we happened to be—the car, the space in front of the television, the kitchen table. We used tape, a jump rope, pillows, a sweater to mark off our space and keep the encroaching sister away. “That’s mine! Mom, she took my____” Fill in the blank. Whatever it was, we owned it and no one else could have it. Of course, I was the worst thief of the siblings. When my older sister got an EasyBake oven I ate all those cute little cake mixes—yes raw—while she was at school. I blamed it on mice.

I’m still overly protective of my belongings. I try not to be. Generosity is a virtue, right? But when I go to find the broom, or the tape, or the scissors, or a rake and the item is not where it is supposed to be, my temper flares. I feel a great sense of trespass. I tried to work on this during my morning meditation and I have come to realize that it is really about time and energy.

There is only so much of each.

I have more time now that I am retired. But there are so many things I want to do each day. Exercise, meal plan, write, paint, read, visit friends, get the tires rotated, take the dog to the dog park, camp, hike, ride (horses and bikes), laundry, bookkeeping for our veterinary clinic…the list is endless. If I plan I can fit it all in, but planning takes on the persona of work and I retired early for a reason.

And there is that damn energy thing. If I do the amount of exercise I need to do every day (about 90 minutes) I am too tired to do anything else. I come home with the best intentions, only to read, nap, watch Hulu and play Gin Rummy on my iPad. It is remarkably easy to put things off.

So where do the boundaries come in? By increasing my ability to say “no” to those things which are not really important. Make that important to me. I’m sure others feel that what they are asking for is important but my selfish meter is high, high, high. My needs come first now. And my own desires come next on that list.

What about you? Are you likely to push your own needs and desires aside in favor of “what is right?”

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