I have suffered from severe anxiety for my entire life. After living with crippling anxiety for so long, you tend to learn your boundaries. And because I know what happens if and when those boundaries are crossed (a horrendous panic attack or two), I’ve learned to be great at telling people “no.”
So when my husband and I first got married and began talking about our ideal home, I said, “There is no way I would EVER live on a main road. That would be way too stressful for me!” And then a year later, I ate my words in more ways than one.
After we moved into our new house on a main road (that I would never live on) in a new city (that I would never live in), I realized this was not the first time I went back on my outspoken “never would I ever list.”
Here are two small examples of this. First, I said I would never have a first dance at my wedding. I hate dancing, I hate attention, and my husband is like, twice my height so I knew we would look ridiculous. But it was important to my husband and so I sucked it up and did it anyway.
I also said that I would NEVER get into Pinterest because that was “only for lame moms and girls obsessed with weddings.” I made fun of “Pinteresty” things and said I would never be “that girl” (of course, there is nothing wrong with Pinterest…but I was…judgy).
And now, of course, I’ve recently discovered the joys of Pinterest and can’t get off it. (Shameless plug: if you have Pinterest too, let’s connect! Check me out here!)
Those are just the little things. What about the big things? I said I would never in a million years get engaged without dating someone for at least one year.
I even wrote a blog post a few years back about how I “don’t really agree” with people who get engaged after a short period of time! …Yeah, coming from the girl who got engaged after like, seven months.
And of course, I would never move to [The City We Moved To Last Year] and I would never live in a house on a main road and I would never live in a house that had mice, because, “what about diseases!?”
So, we moved to the City I Would Never Live In, and lived in a house on a main road with a mouse problem, and one day we were driving by another house on a different but equally busy main street.
And my husband, Jefferson, looked at me and said,
“That’s a really cute house, isn’t it?”
And I turned to Jefferson and said,
“Ew, I could never live on a main road.”
And then Jefferson looked at me like this for the next five minutes:
And Jefferson stared me down until I realized that we DID live on a main road…and had for the last six months.
That is when I realized that boundaries are good. Great even, especially when you have anxiety. Knowing your limits is something that comes with time and can really help reduce panic attacks and overall stress.
This conversation made me realize that although healthy boundaries are good, I had created a list of “nevers” in my head that were not completely healthy or realistic. I frequently even broke that list, did not even realize, and yet continued to think that “I could never do [blank]”…even when I was doing that thing!
So, I think it’s time to reevaluate my boundaries. I don’t want to stop myself from experiencing things I am actually okay with because of an arbitrary list I created in my head 10 years ago.
It’s time to change, and that’s okay.
Gifs from: Giphy.com