It’s funny how some words keep turning up. Like bad pennies…like a fresh reminder of a lesson that needs to be relearned. Recently for me, amidst 10-15 hour workdays and a pile of books on organisation, I was reminded about boundaries. And that sometimes we just need to stop the crazy behaviour…because the only one perpetuating the story that you can just keep coping under pressure is you. Because it is not until you stop and reset your boundaries about what is and is not acceptable, do people realise just how much you were doing and what it was taking from you to do that.
What did it take for me to realise I had let so many of my boundaries slip? I’m not entirely sure if it was just one thing. The bursts of anger? The lack of self care that meant I was not eating or sleeping enough? The withdrawal from my friends and family. The friend that refused to talk to me about my work situation anymore, because they realised long before I did that I was doing this to myself.
I am still not sure I’ve managed to fill all the holes until my boundaries are completely healthy and strong again. I’m working a bit longer than I should to ensure time-critical deadlines are met. And I am stating clearly how much I will and won’t be able to do in any one day. I cooked a proper meal tonight, but I worked 10 hours. It’s a process. Everything in life is a process of adjusting to change. It’s never going to be perfect…the perfect schedule, the perfect house…it can only ever be a moving towards the things that make you happier and healthier.
Boundaries are good. Difficult at times…sometimes I set them too hard and shrink from people. But boundaries are good. By setting clear enough boundaries, and giving myself space to think, I can work out where to go next. Perhaps that is what scared me…what kept me working so much I didn’t have time to think about what I wasn’t doing. I am not following my dream after the PhD. Now maybe I am ready to move towards that.