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The Time Boundary

I want to talk about the boundary of time.

We often talk about physical boundaries (consent before someone touches you, how they touch you). We talk about possession boundaries (who's stuff belongs to who and what are the appropriate ways to ask and borrow those things). We talk about emotional boundaries (what are you okay with sharing with others? How much do you trust them?)

... but I don't think we talk about time boundaries enough.

This is the stealthy, snake-in-the-grass, sort of, foot-in-the-door, type of boundary that trips me up every time. I want to be a gracious person. So I accept invites to things that I don't want to go to. I help others when they ask me for a phone call or for life advice, just to listen, or to help them/join them on a project they've started that they're really passionate about. I love being there for people, even if, in reality, I'm not a necessary variable in the equation.

Those people who invite me to events, the event will still happen whether I'm there or not, and they'll still probably attend it. Just with someone else (maybe even someone who actually wants to go!). The phone calls... now, I'm here to hear a person out, but if they just want to stay on the phone about the same ex that they've had for 2 years now, continuing to complain about how he's leading her on... is it even helpful at that point to provide an ear for her to continue in her loop? What would happen if I set a boundary, informing her that I have time to talk about anything but that dude? Would the conversation be shorter? Would it be more beneficial for us both? And then the projects... what if I just told them I didn't have time to work on it, but I'd love to see the finished product. Why is that so hard for me to say?

If it's something they are passionate about, they will find a way to make it work, and they will find other people that are passionate about making the project work too. I don't need to invest my time in that way with them to demonstrate that I am still a good friend.

And when I begin to learn to say "No" more often, it will free me up for time to work on the things that I am passionate about. It will give me more time to work on the projects that light me up or move my career goals forward.

This has been such a long rant. I suppose it just hit me on the head this week that I am doing too many things that don't relate to anything that I actually want to do, and that I was continuing to do them to make other people happy. I need to learn to value MY time and realize that it is a finite resource.

How do I want to spend it?

 
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