Boundaries will be my “word” for 2014. Unlike Patience (2012) and Joy (2013), this word is very clear to me but harder to explain.

I have a time-honored habit of worrying and especially about those near and dear to me. I attribute it to being a precocious child, surrounded by adults. Somewhere along the way, I got the idea that I was …Well, this anecdote says it all. In November of 1965, a young boy was walking along the street, carrying a stick and hitting lamp poles as he walked along. All of a sudden, everything went dark , not just on his street but in the whole Northeast. The young boy went home and hid under his bed because he was sure he was the cause of the blackout.

And there’s the problem: I feel overly responsible for what happens in the lives of others, even though intellectually I know I have no control over that. Some years ago, sitting on the couch in my wonderful sun room, I looked out at the white ash tree in my backyard. It did not take an arborist to figure out that the tree was not in the best of health. At the same time, my beloved Aunt Florine was in failing health. I remember thinking, “ Everyone is concerned and worried about the world/country situation but I am the only one who is worrying about Florine and the tree,” as if that would help. Yet, it some foolish way, I felt it would.

So my goal this year, by concentrating on “Boundaries,” is to disentangle myself from others’ lives by reminding myself that I don’t really know the answer to their situation, and they wouldn’t listen to me even if I did.

I have little desire to stop worrying, in general, if that’s what you call it. Worrying is as much a part of me as green eyes. There’s an old story, one of my favorites, where a man is standing on the corner snapping his fingers. Someone comes along and asks, “Why are you snapping your fingers?” He replies, “To keep the tigers away.” The second person says, “There aren’t any tigers around here,” to which the first man replies with a look of satisfaction, “Works, doesn’t it!”

© Dorothy C. Judd

Next Post: Monday, January 6th



About twofelines

What to say? I love my family and friends. I also love kids, cats, and books. Oh, and potato chips and Cheez-its. I am a retired teacher who still loves to be in the classroom, so now I am a substitute teacher.
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4 Responses to Boundaries

  1. Lisa Gross says:

    You are so clever!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Ann says:

    My sister and I are such worriers. We thought it was a Polish Catholic & Russian Jewish thing (our immigrant grandparents.) But I think it was when we all were born: after the Depression and during WW II. Who knows! But it’s hard to back off, and ‘live and let live’, especially now with 24/7 news from every corner of the world sending us barrages of doom and suffering.

  3. Lisa says:

    I just need to say, Roy and I both LOVE your posts, and I just sent this one to my sister Nancy. She is just like you. She thinks she is responsible for everyone! Love YOU!!

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