Boundaries are a part of self-care. They are healthy, normal, and necessary. -Doreen Virtue
As I approached the age of 50, I hit the ground running. I took on every adventure and/or project I ever wanted to accomplish in my life. I began marking a line through many of the things I had listed on my bucket list. For the first time in my life, I felt like I could do anything I put my mind to. But then, something happened. The severe sense of urgency became overwhelming and soon transformed into anxiety. “Is this what a mid-life crisis looks like?” I asked myself. I wasn’t sure of the answer to that question, but what I did know is that something was off and had to change. Trying new things should not be stressful, at least in the negative sense. It suddenly dawned on me that I needed to set boundaries on myself. Others were not pulling me in different directions; I was doing a fine job all by myself.
For so many years, I didn’t have faith in myself or in my gift of writing. A couple of years before turning 50, I found myself and discovered my own voice. Instead of walking gracefully into my dream life, I ran anxiously into this new world of endless possibilities. I felt that if I paused or slowed down to catch my breath even for a minute, I just might lose my momentum. I feared falling back into the miserably depressed life I once lived. The fear of retreat caused me to never say no to myself. Once I noticed the pattern of anxiety that I kept finding myself in, I began to learn how to tell myself no. This was no easy feat, but I found creative ways to pursue my dreams, anxiety free.
First, I began making a list of the things I wanted to accomplish in the next three to six months. I then numbered the list in order of importance. My next step was to create a schedule for each listed item. And the most important step was the promise I made to myself to not take on any additional tasks during the three-to-six-month period. There was my boundary. Making this list and the promise to myself taught me to say no to myself. This required focus, time management, and an adherence to the schedule I created, but instantly, the anxiety began to dissipate. I also learned and understood that no matter what, I would not let myself down by turning back into my old self. Setting boundaries on “me” set me free from fear of regression.