Just for clarification, this is not about Borders Bookstores. This little blog is about the borders in our lives. The theme is not original, but it is, in fact, potentially consequential to us all. Borders are either what we embrace or consciously decide to cross. Usually, when that crossing process begins, we are teenagers seeking our own relevancy, independence and joie de vivre. Borders can be relevant demarcations that we, as a society, embrace; or not. For example, when you attempt to cross over the imaginary line between Canada and the United States, you’d better have a passport, and when you go from El Paso to Juarez, you’d better have a bazooka. Just read this warning from the Juarez Wikipedia page: WARNING: Be extremely careful in the city because of gang violence in Ciudad Juarez. Over 5000 people, including some foreigners, have been killed since the beginning of 2009. Most murders are related to the drug trade, but the city remains unsafe for anyone caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Criminal gangs that engage in extortion and kidnapping operate with near impunity. Now that’s a potentially significant border. We have borders all around us, and those borders can be very real or completely self-imposed. In fact, many of the borders that mankind has spilled blood for over the centuries have either long been forgotten or were senseless in the first place.
I often talk about the view from space where, unless the borders are made by flowing rivers or distinctive mountains or oceans, they are not visible from outer space. As societies we have agreed upon borders, but beyond that agreement, we sometimes embrace them in a completely irrational manner. Border crossings really do help us move from childhood to adulthood on so many levels. It seems that when we can decide that our toys are too juvenile, we can finally put them down and move on with our lives. (That is until we can afford more expensive and complicated toys.) When we trade Buzz Lightyear for an IPad, we know that we are crossing a new threshold, a new border. The challenge that we all seem to face, though, is when to ignore borders that may have once served a purpose but no longer make sense. Do you really want to go back to just passing notes once you’ve kissed?
Well, this Christmas, I witnessed five little kids who were securely wrapped in the magic and wonder of the season. Yes, there were more questions than usual, but they eagerly dove into the protection of the carefully laid out borders set by their parents since birth. “You must be in bed or Santa won’t come.” “You can’t get up too early because your presents might disappear. “ Unfortunately for many of us, borders which begin as cobwebs, grow into ropes and eventually morph from chains to heavy wire cable. Many times they prove to be very unhealthy for us as humans. For example, if you have extremely high cholesterol and drink two gallons of cream per day, you may only have a 50/50 chance of needing to be concerned about crossing other borders.
Bottom line? Growth comes from working half of the time in areas with which you are acquainted and comfortable and the other fifty percent in areas where you have little or no comfort; crossing those borders will make you grow.
As we launch into another new year, I encourage all of you to be more introspective; to look at what’s holding you back, keeping you from growing, and most importantly what’s feeding your soul or not? I’m also asking you to get out of the woulda, shoulda, coulda mind set and move on with your life. You can never create a better past for yourself.
Come on, take a leap across some old, unneeded borders and have a very Happy New Year!