Much of our sense of well-being, our security, and overall quality of life depends on how well we manage the “EDGES” of our existence: The boundaries, barriers and overall “framework” that define our world and keep us sane, secure, solvent, salubrious, sanguine, spirited and surging forward.
When we lose the definition of “EDGES”, we lose significant degrees of both quality of life and navigability. And, while “going off-road” and “coloring outside the lines” may be part of the exploratory, creative and adventurous processes that ultimately advance civilization as well as our personal place in it, a complete disregard for “EDGES” and/or for goals or aspirations that create more “yellow brick road” (with NEW or redefined “EDGES”) risks tilting the hand of Fate in a decidedly negative direction.
The debilitating impact of “breached edges” was graphically illustrated by two recent encounters:
- The movie They Shall Not Grow Old by Peter Jackson [http://time.com/5466475/peter-jackson-they-shall-not-grow-old/] This compilation of WWI film footage depicts the horrors of war – and of the absolutely abominable conditions inside the trenches – outside any conscionable boundaries of civilization.
- An entry in the Lexington Herald-Leader (12/28/2018, p. 3A) graphically describes unconscionably depraved conditions – resulting from life with no discernible “EDGES” – found by law enforcement in a family’s home [http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODN/LexingtonHeraldLeader/default.aspx?=&id=ZXJ0aWFAd2luZHN0cmVhbS5uZXQ= ]:
“ … officers found their home infested with insects and covered in filth … the door was not secured … the house [was] in disarray and feces around the house … there were multiple flies on traps and other insects crawling along the floor and walls … The kitchen sink had dirty dishes and moldy water. The child’s room was also teeming with crawling insects, including the child’s bed … it did not appear there was any bedding or clothes for the child in the room. There was trash throughout the house, along with the feces from four cats and a dog … [the father] did not know how much, if any, food was in the house … [The officer] said he couldn’t check all the rooms because of the amount of ‘filth and feces’.”
Life well-lived requires some fencing – some EDGES – some BOUNDARIES!
Sports have rules and referees for a reason. (They also have coaches!) Unfortunately, life requires us to figure out a lot of the “rules” as we go. And a lot of would-be/should-be rules are treated more like “guidelines”, which we read as “optional” and not very binding. And, much of the time, “referees” and coaches are nowhere to be found … unless or until there’s a problem, and then it’s often too late for reasonable rectification.
So let’s just go ahead and simplify it:
“Certain things should not be done at certain times,
AND IN CERTAIN PLACES,
and a large assortment of OTHER things should not be done altogether.
When in doubt, DON’T –
unless you’re prepared to deal with the consequences.”
Or how about this one:
“Do what you’re supposed to do
and life will turn out the way it’s supposed to be.”
Words of Wisdom from an old farmhouse calendar
Music is also illustrative here. A symphony chart is bordered, bounded and “framed” in dozens of ways for dozens of different instruments. Even a Jazz chart – where improvisation reigns supreme – has structure. Otherwise, one simply gets a cacophony of meaningless, cringe-worthy noise. Life shouldn’t be a cacophony of meaningless, cringe-worthy noise!
Here are some borders, boundaries and “EDGES” you might find helpful reinforcing in your own life at this beginning of a new year:
- Stay within a reasonable budget
- Use “Unscheduled Time” wisely
- Brush your teeth / Maintain Health-Wise Personal Hygiene
- Get some exercise
- Show up at work and be accountable
Or try this one …
“If you want to change the world,
start off by making your bed.”
Admiral William H McRaven
Feel free to expand this list for your own edification.
An emerging theme for this year is that sacrifices are an integral part of staying-the-course for a building the life you deserve. Our potential cannot be reached if we insist on chasing distractions and indulgences off the road and down every rabbit hole. Admittedly, the world is moving faster every day and it’s difficult to keep up. And we have an intrinsic desire not to miss anything. But the unbridled pursuit of an “off-road” agenda has fairly predictable consequences, such as: lost opportunities, muddling mediocrity, stress, anxiety, depression and meaninglessness.
Personal Note: I’m NOT watching football bowl games at this writing (three games are currently being broadcast), and it has not diminished my life an iota! Good Luck with your “EDGING”! Quartermaster
Quote of the Week
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” Carl Sandburg