Thoughtful Thursday: Drawing Lines

July 21, 2011

Thoughtful ThursdayStill in limbo. It has gone from being delicious to excruciating to a chance to practice being patient and back again.

One of the things I’ve been doing while in limbo checking out alternate scenarios in case this job doesn’t happen — how would it play out if we stay here, where else might we move, etc. Mostly, though, I’ve been keeping tabs on our potential new city.

Any new housing listings being posted in the desired areas? An exciting new option might come along, or the owners of the house we’ve already settled on may decide that they can’t stand this limbo any longer and need to rent to someone else.

I already know which organic market I’d shop at. Which farmers markets operate on which days.

I’ve drawn up a short list of preschools — not for this year, and probably not for the next year, but the one after that.

I know what route I’d take to get to work every day.

I know which gym my husband should join, and I know where to find yoga classes for myself and for my little budding yoginis.

I have scoped out every playground within walking distance. I know which museums have reciprocity with my existing museum memberships. I know which pumpkin patch we’d visit for Halloween.

The one thing I don’t yet know, the one thing I haven’t allowed myself to search for? Where I’d do pottery.

For each of the other cities we’ve thought we might move to in the past year, I looked up all of the options and settled on a pottery studio. By drawing this boundary, I’ve simultaneously given myself something to look forward to and kept myself from getting too entrenched in one possible future (as if the farmers market and yoga schedules are not entrenched). The line is arbitrary and artificial and silly, but the existence of a line means that I stay (vaguely) grounded in reality instead of only What Ifs.

Sort of like when I was in infertility limbo. In each city where we lived during IF, I had selected an OB, a prenatal massage therapist, a studio for prenatal yoga, a doula… I’d picked out names, and strollers, and car seats… I literally read a dozen books on pregnancy the first year I was TTC… but I didn’t allow myself to buy a single baby item. In that case, it was already too late to keep myself from getting mired in What Ifs. The boundary was more about waiting for reality to catch up with fantasy. It’s a good thing that I established that particular boundary: if I’d actually bought a car seat when I started TTC, long before I ever got pregnant with Burrito and Tamale that car seat would have passed the expiration date.

Do you ever draw lines for yourself? Do the lines represent real, meaningful boundaries, or are they arbitrary?

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7 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Drawing Lines”

  1. Elana Kahn Says:

    I don’t really draw lines for myself because I’d never follow them. I’m too impulsive. I might think “no, I’m not going to do that” and then do it anyway. So I just don’t really bother. 🙂

  2. TwoKayaks Says:

    My whole life is about drawing lines. I look at it as self-discipline rather than drawing lines, though. I have lines for everything from the food I eat to the relationships I have. It sounds more like you are talking about self-preservation. You are limiting your thoughts and research to that which won’t compromise hope. I get it. It’s difficult to put your whole self into something that may or may not pan out. So, you protect yourself in some way that will somehow make a potential disappointment easier to handle. Totally get it.

  3. xj2608 Says:

    I hadn’t really realized I do this, but it completely strikes a chord with me. There is always something I leave open when I make plans. Take this summer – my husband was supposed to be home all summer, so I planned our vacation (it was delightful!), and I planned a work-related training trip (Jackson Hole, WY!)…but I did not schedule the hernia surgery that I need to have. Which, as it turns out, was a good idea, as he is likely to be travelling again.

    I don’t think my lines are boundaries – they’re just contingency plans?

  4. Tara (TIMO) Says:

    I play the “What If” game all the time. I’m terrible at it though. I cross my lines all the time and come up with plans for the plans. The only thing I’m not dwelling on or planning for is the same thing we’re in limbo about- the next assignment Nav will get and where that will take us. It’s probably between 2 locations- 1 where we lived before and I wouldn’t mind returning to and another I’m not excited about but Nav is. No sense dwelling on either scenario until we have more information.

  5. Ana Says:

    I draw a lot of lines, usually to protect myself from disappointment or “jinxing” myself. Sometimes it ends up being ridiculous—making it look like I “didn’t plan well” when in fact things were very much calculated (i.e. not changing assignments at work that were right before my due date until I got very close).

  6. strongblonde Says:

    i’m the worst at this! i’ll, like you, spend so much time contemplating and preparing for all sorts of scenarios and draw out algorithms (mostly in my head, but some on paper) about “if this this, then that”. there are all sorts of implicit lines in that kind of thinking. ever since the kids, i’ve really tried to just let things happen and react to them in real time instead of anticipating and planning…but i think it goes against my nature!

    and my kids love yoga, too. their favorites right now are downward dog, bridge, and plow. m also is starting to get into triangle 🙂 so fun to see their little bodies in yoga poses! 🙂

  7. St. Elsewhere Says:

    I am impulsive, but I also draw lines for myself.

    For example, when shopping for clothes, especially for myself, I will have a basic number (number of items/budget etc) in my mind with which I work. There are times I allow myself to go a bit beyond too. But I will just not buy something for myself if I am unsure about it.

    With regards to buying gifts for certain people, I have a strict boundary on how much I will spend (yikes…sounds harsh), because of what I have experienced before.

    But sometimes, I set boundaries that serve as limitations. I think that I haven’t achieved some things because I thought I can’t do it. That’s an imaginary boundary but it does exist.

    I will spend time with others, and all but I do draw a line and seek time out for myself. In that leisure I might not be doing great things, but that time is me and I need to have it.


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