Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Life as a Garden

Our lives as adults are overwhelmed with demands: demanding relationships, distractions. Young adults have an espesially distracting element to their lives. The intrusion of their circle of acquaintainces and friends through their cell phones. There is the overwhelming urge to answer every call, repond to every message. At one time, a young man checks his messages and discovers that the same friend has called nine times while he was at work and his phone, naturally, was off. The last message in this string of annoying repetitions, "Where are you, man"? This is a heated demand for accessibility. A demand that there be a call back.

When this intrusion becomes daily, a young person really should cancel his cell phone number and try to shake off these encroaching messages. As one matures, a certain ruthlessness about one's privacy grows. Availability of one's time and attention to others becomes a controlled commodity. Many young people find themselves on the phone over four hours a day either listening to messages or dealing with multiple messages and talking to people who spontaneously call them with a need to talk, 'hang out'. I have eavesdropped on some of these conversations waiting for my young friend or my adult child whom I am visiting when their phone rings. It is apparent that many phone calls are simply an encroachment.

If one's life may be compared to a garden, one's plot of ground for the duration of one's life, then we should guard it, work it, and keep one's life a priority. This implies that one's time is also a carefully monitored priority. It is far too easy to allow the world to wander, crash, or slip into one's life. In order to preserve one's garden for our own use and control, we must build a fence around it and protect it from intruders. How does one decide whether a new acquaintaince is an intruder, or a reciprocol friend. If one has already committed to having a certain unavailability or aloofness, then it will be a ground rule in meeting new people. They will sense it. When it is time to work or attend college classes, there is no distraction or lure which undermines our plan. Every garden, every life needs weeding which means some 'friends' who are not synergistic or who tramp around in our carefully tilled area must be asked or forced to leave. This is a very hard discipline for young people to grasp now. They find themselves hosting parties which descend upon their apartments without permission. Young women find themselves in a relationship with an obsessive man they 'took home' from a local bar. They victims of these intruders could have prevented the wasted time, disrupted plans, and even a traumatic encounter if they had formed a fence around themselves which can be felt.

If an attractive young woman is asked on a few dates and then there is a sudden rush of gifts and effusive talk of everafterness, she must decide whether to sit the man down and explain that she is not ready for this seriousness or drift into a relationship she doesn't want. She will have to show strength of character and take him to the gate of her garden to gently push him out. If she doesn't, she is at fault for cowardice for whatever pain she causes him and herself. Young people don't realize that their waking hours are theirs to spend or squander. A call to go to the kareoke bar doesn't mean one must go it there is an important deadline looming.
Just as there are deadlines for pruning, transplanting, fertilizing a garden, there are also these tasks for our life. If we must make room for one more college class in order to graduate on time, then the social life must be seriously curtailed. Not available. One is simply unavailable so that the class can be completed. Of course, people have feelings. When they are rebuffed, it can seem that it has been rude. However, if there is a fence arounds one's life from the very onset, then others will feel it, honor it, and will not feel ostracized.

This makes it necessary to carry this fence around you life with you into any social setting or social encounter. When someone asks for your number or address, give it only if you feel you would like to allow this person into your life knowing that it could be an encroachment or an enrichment. Assess if the person is reciprocal. Will they help you till, weed, plant as well as celebrate the harvest? Actually, if the person being considered is a reciprocal type, they also have a fence around their life, and allow only those who they feel will be synergistic into their lives as well.

So many young people allow so much fluidity through their cell phone and chance encounters that they get very little done and consequently must drop out of school, lose jobs, and become estranged from their family because they have not learned to discipline themselves. At thirty, tragically, they awaken and wonder what happened to their lives since high school.
If our lives are a garden, work the plot, plan the life. Discipline controls time, keep the end in mind. Short term goals attained create a long term goal acheived. The harves is a life of attained wealth of love, family, security.