Boundaries

Day 29:  We all have our boundaries

(iPhone photo #29 in my 2012 365+1 project)

We’ve been trying to teach Annie the dog about boundaries, as in she has some she is supposed to stay within. She wears a collar now for a wireless fence system, and this has taught her that she isn’t supposed to leave the yard on her own. It’s only safe to leave the yard on the leash when a person is with her. This is what we want her to believe. If she does not, the dog catcher might get her, or she might wander out onto the highway and get herself smushed by a giant truck.

We want her to know her to recognize and abide by boundaries for her own good. I also want her to recognize that barbed wire fence in the picture above as a boundary for my own good. We visit the fence as part of our walk around the neighborhood. She keep trying to show me how to crawl under it. I keep trying to convince her that we aren’t allowed to do that. There are cows on the other side of the fence, though, and they are a mighty temptation. She wants worse than anything to get out there and do some herding. She is a year old now, and we haven’t given her a flock to herd yet.

So Annie and I are in a battle of wills over boundaries, and I’m in a battle of wills with myself over boundaries as well. I want to push mine around a little. I want to jump some fences.

I imagined when I started out on my fitness plan at the first of the new year that I would just start exercising and steadily increasing the amount of exercise until I could finally say I was really in shape. I wanted to take maybe a couple of months to build up to the point of walking 30 miles per week. I started with a goal of walking 15 miles in a week. I thought that would be easily achievable and that I would steadily increase each week from there.

This week I walked 15 miles. Just barely, but I did it. I spent the entire month of January building up to this point. I have come face to face with my own limitations a time or two along the way.

I should probably feel good that I met a goal, but I really just feel foolish that the whole thing is this much of a struggle. Nonetheless, I’m going to go look at that fence again and think about jumping. For the coming week, I moving my goal to 18 miles.

Maybe there are times when we just have to accept our boundaries, but maybe we’re just conditioned to thinking an invisible fence is going to zap us if we take a step in the wrong direction. When Annie wants to find out if the wireless fence is still in place, she doesn’t just gingerly step toward it. She runs at it with everything in her. She runs back yelping, but at least she knows she had the courage to try. I’m always warning Annie to be more cautious, but I envy her in this. She knows one thing to be true. She’ll never get what she wants if she doesn’t just run for it.

Running and I have never really been pals, but I do plan to keep walking this week and find out if I can push my boundaries just a little bit more.