After moving overseas, I was equal parts surprised and perplexed to discover homes in England and in Switzerland don’t use window screens. When you open the back door or the window in the bedroom, you invite the natural world to enter your home with you. After getting over my paranoia about critters flying in, I loved opening the paned window next to my breakfast table and asking the geraniums in the flower box to join me for a cup of tea. I highly recommend it. Screens bother me now that I know living without their gray mesh is an option. How did I not realize this before? I like seeing the sun rise and set without a filter, everything appears more vibrant, more in my face alive, rather than one more step removed.
When we moved back home to NJ we took down a bunch of screens from the windows, and they became my looking-glass into the miniature world of crickets and fireflies and mourning doves. We left a few up for the days when we wanted to catch a breeze without also catching mosquitoes or stinging bees. I have since learned that moving directly next to a horse farm also means moving directly into a fly-infested land reminiscent of the ten plagues of Egypt. I would let any number of people, pets, or my tchochkes go, if it meant I wouldn’t have to live with a fly swatter strapped to me like a weapon. I actually tried to kill a fly with my swatter as it landed on me. I slapped myself with it, people. It’s getting downright crazy up in here.
An unfiltered view of the world is great when you have your eyes focused on something beautiful, but it also lets in a lot of annoying, distracting, filthy critters. I’m really selective about which windows I open. We squeeze in through cracks in our open doors and slam them shut as fast as possible after we enter. We set all kinds of traps outside, and short of moving, we do everything we can to keep the plague from tainting the atmosphere of our home. Lots of days it feels like a losing battle, but unlike the flies, we live to fight another day.
It’s a lot like the battlefield of my mind, where I’ve learned how to carefully screen input from the outside world. I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating if only to remind myself how boundaries lead to good mental health. I don’t watch the news very often, I don’t read trollish comments or reviews, I block haters on Facebook and un-follow them on twitter. Life is too short for meany-pants people and braggarts and constant complainers. I avoid gossip and I stay away from Pinterest on days when I think my life only unfolds in shades of monotonous gray. Fyi, Pinterest is also bad when battling PMS or on bad hair days. I have filters set up to keep me from the thoughts and anxieties that enter through the small cracks and plague me. I don’t have enough time to swat away all of the things that make me feel less than or anxious or afraid. Better to set up traps to keep them from multiplying. Better to keep them far, far away.
Today is a good day. I will hit up my favorite bloggers and scroll through my twitter feed, and read some challenging material. But pests beware, I am armed and not afraid to smack myself with some boundaries in the process.
Do you set up filters in your everyday life to keep frustrations at bay? I’m curious what you avoid or what you add to your life to maintain healthy boundaries.
Speaking of adding things in, join me back here on Tuesday where I’ll share a little about my latest read. It’s a good one, and you don’t want to miss it.