Thursday, September 1, 2011

Needing More Margin

We like to tease Jim that he may meet a stranger, but he never parts from one.  For instance, a few years back we were in San Antonio with friends for the Pro Bull Riding Ford Tough Series.  After the night's event we went to an Irish Pub to hang out.  Next thing I know, I look over and Jim has turned his chair around to face the table behind us.  He is hanging out with a couple of guys in town for an international seminar...a couple of Russians, an Aussie and a young man from Scotland.  And he sat there with them for over an hour!  I told you, he may meet a stranger but he never parts from one.

And then there is my sister, Rosa.  When we are visiting with her family back home and go out to eat, we tease her about her 'politicing'.  She is making her rounds "shaking hands and kissing babies".  I don't mean that in a bad way either, she knows a lot of people and is genuinely interested in their lives.

And lastly, my dear friend, Stacy, who can talk to anyone and learn their whole life's story in a matter of minutes.  Honestly, if we go to eat at the same restaurant more than twice she usually knows the names of every member of the wait staff and they know hers!

I consider myself to be a social person too.  I love getting together with family and friends. While I am not as outgoing as my husband, my sister or my friend, I still need to be around other people or I begin to feel antsy.  But if I spend TOO much time with other people, I need some solitude.

Even on our most treasured family vacations, I need some solitude.  Heck, even if Jim and I spend too much time together I get to where I cannot string two thoughts together!  That is why I took a morning to stay back in camp during our South Africa trip...and I often turned in while Jim was still visiting around the campfire.

If there is one thing I know to be true about me, it is that I need space in my life.  And that brings me to my second Personal Commandment:

#2: Leave Some Room For Margins

An article at Intentional Parents Blog describes 'margin' as follows: "Margin is the space you leave around the events in your life."

Jim and I have been talking a lot about 'slowing down' lately.  I don't know how we are going to do it with football/holiday/hunting seasons all upon us.   But we both agree that we need some space to breathe. 

I call it needing the margin on the pages of a book.  Otherwise all the words would overwhelm me and I wouldn't even know where to begin.  It is okay to fill the margins of a book with notes from time to time, but when there is no 'white space' there seems to be no place to just be. 

The difficult thing about margins  is that they have to be made intentionally.  Just as I have to tell my Word document where to begin and end...I have to guard my calendar from becoming too full. We keep a very full schedule during the week with work and football practices/games.  It is for that reason that we are consciously committing to leave at least one weekend a month completely unscheduled.  I can't do it for all of us and I am not sure that we will stay at home the whole time...but we need space to do the things we want or to not do a thing if that is what we need. 

I also try to spend a little bit of time every day in solitude.  Whether it is just my quiet time in the morning or going to bed a little before Jim to do some reading, I know that I need some time to process and to contemplate.

I realized at the beginning of the year that I needed margin in my schedule as a time management tool, but I am learning that it is a much bigger issue than just making it to appointments on time.  It is a way of life that helps to keep me sane!


Doug said...

I can think of no place more marginal than Las Vegas!

Deidra said...

My dad's the same way: he never meets a stranger. We have to schedule in extra time whenever we go somewhere with my dad because he stops and talks to everyone!

Brenda said...

Boy you are right!

Stacy said...

Guess I get my "margin" this weekend thanks to Big Red (the truck).