I am an only child. Now while the first word that would probably come into your mind is spoiled, I’d say this situation significantly shaped my boundaries. I’ve lived all my life in a three-house compound along with my cousins and later on with my nephews and nieces. When I got lonely or bored or simply missed my relatives (I deeply adore them), I’d go downstairs, walk a few meters and knock on their doors. But the good thing about growing up with no siblings is that when I wanted – needed – solitude, I could easily get it. And perhaps it was because of this very arrangement that I had the chance to reflect a lot.

Now this is supposed to be the part where I go from a personal introduction to a more general issue. That’s how my boundaries are supposed to be. Unfortunately, I’m having a little drink tonight to ease my aching legs from yesterday’s run, and so my boundaries are just a little bit soft…er. So here it goes.

One thing I love about our fellowship with my nephews (they’re my crowd now because my age gap with them is very much closer than with their dads) is that while we are definitely very close, we respect one another’s boundaries. Since we now have cellphones and the internet, we text or chat to plan a house visit. We seldom do the knocking on the door thing anymore.

Nowadays it just seems rude to drive to your friend’s house without calling first. What if your friend is sleeping, making love to his wife, or simply enjoying his solitude with a book or a movie? Even if you are best friends – or lovers – I believe a little boundary is still appropriate – even necessary.

Ah, my boundaries have just snapped shut. Earlier I was talking about my nephews and then I just shifted to a slightly different topic. But I wanna talk about my nephews some more. Wait, let me get another drink….

…Ah, my nephews. My very cool nephews. Their dads – my older cousins – were the ones who taught me how to drink. Now I’m just returning the favor. And I hope one day they too will return the favor. They’re now in their early twenties and frankly, I enjoy interacting with them more than with their dads. (See, I’m not even afraid to say this because their dads don’t read my blog like they do.) And while their dads talk mostly about politics, my nephews talk about philosophy.

Okay, I guess that’s about as far as my boundaries will allow, sober or not. That’s because no matter how important you, my readers, are to me (even those I do not know), I happen to be a very private person. And as much as I am expressive of my innermost thoughts, my personal life is another thing, and it is open only to those whom I know personally.

I’ve read somewhere that most relationships fail not because of too much separateness but because of too much togetherness. This is definitely true not only with couples but also with friends. Although our teenage years are often marked with sleepovers, as we grow older we tend to keep our friends at a comfortable distance. Our fondness for them did not deteriorate – on the contrary, it just got fonder – but somehow we tend to value our privacy more.

And though we don’t see them as much as we did, this only makes every reunion special. inner minds


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