Boundaries

 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My  hometown is notorious for speeding tickets. The police know exactly where to sit so they’re just out of sight and can nab you going 35 in a 25 at the bottom of a hill, or coming around a corner. When I got my license, I learned pretty early on to only go a couple of miles per hour over the speed limit, and where the traps were. I developed a subconscious understanding of the boundaries of Oakwood, so I knew where I could push my speed a little more without getting pulled over.

When we moved back to my hometown a few weeks ago and George started driving, I found myself giving him the reminders that my mom gave me when I learned how to drive – “It’s 25 here,” “They’re usually sitting at the bottom of this hill,” “Here’s the school zone – they’re ALWAYS here during lunch.” And I could tell him (even on roads without city limit signs), “You can go 40 now, we’re in Kettering,” or “The right side of the street is Dayton, but the left side is still Oakwood.”

I don’t have very distinct memory of how I learned all the boundaries of my hometown. I guess it just comes from 18 years of living there. So, even though the boundaries were really obvious to me, George is just learning them. And when I tell him the speed limit or give him a heads up of the cops’ favorite hangouts, I don’t mean to be a backseat driver, I just want him to understand those boundaries that feel so clear to me.

Street Double Yellow.jpeg

This got me thinking about people’s personal boundaries. We spend a lot of time thinking about our own boundaries, our limits that we’ve developed over many years. They seems to clear to us – we know all the ins and outs – we know where to tread lightly and where we can speed up a little bit. We know that during certain times the boundaries may be more flexible.

Sometimes it’s hard to share those boundaries with others. Maybe it’s because we aren’t even aware that we’ve set them, or maybe it’s that they seem so obvious to us. It’s hard because we don’t want to seem pushy or passive aggressive. We want to give people the benefit of the doubt. But it’s not always so clear. Sometimes there isn’t a city limit sign.

So, have a conversation. Talk about limits. Respect someone else’s. Push your own.

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