Boundaries and the Beach
By the time you read this, I will be on a beach somewhere, with my stack of library books, ready and SO #blessed to be on an actual vacation!!
But at the time of writing this, I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Going on vacation is hard work. Taking days off is an intricate puzzle that requires perfect foresight, creative strategery, and a whole lot of goodwill among your colleagues. I can’t believe how much I’ve had to do to ensure that I can actually log out of my email for just THREE days next week. So many times I’ve almost just shot an email back saying “Just text me if something comes up,” but refrained at the last second.
The truth is this: there is nothing that urgent or that important that it can’t wait three days for me to get back online. It’s painful to admit that the things we agonize over, drop everything for, and rush to complete aren’t really that urgent. It’s painful because, if we believe that, we effectively invalidate the altar of busy that we worship at day after day, week after week, and year after year.
Not only do I now want to light a match to this altar of busy, but I’m ready to tear down the ease of access to us at any moment on almost any platform. If (when) there’s an issue this week (there will be), my team could call, text, email, Slack, WhatsApp, Signal, and/or Google Chat me (and they will). Every boundary has been broken down. Especially after this year of working from home, the line between work and life is blurred in a way I’m afraid might be irreversible for a very long time. So what do we do?
The answer is as simple as the problem is complicated: the boundary lies with you. Your phone can blow up with messages from all of the aforementioned apps, but if you’re not there to dash back a speedy response, the technology loses its power. Your team can get worked up about all sorts of problems and issues, but if you hold the line and protect your time, space, and vacation, what can they do? Fly to the beach and force you to send back a document they could search for in the Google Drive themselves? No. It’s on us to protect these boundaries !! And at the time you’re reading this, it’s probably taking everything within me to not grab my phone and just deal with whatever emergency has popped up. Say a prayer for me, please.
It’s a bigger problem, one that transcends my little beach trip and one that our generation has the responsibility to address. We have to build back our boundaries. We have to choose to separate our work and our life. We have to take back the Sabbath (more on that in this week’s podcast!). I’m in, are you with me?
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Jane Kennedy lives in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and works in criminal justice reform. When she’s not working or writing, she’s probably catching up with friends on FaceTime, getting lost in Rock Creek Park, quoting C.S. Lewis, or trying to recreate Salt and Straw ice cream at home.