I sit here writing this blog optimistic that we will start to re-open soon.  The plan is in place.  The requirements are defined.  I can only hope that the government honors their plan. 

On coffee dates, the conversations seem to have moved to conversations about the end of the pandemic.  There may even be a sense of optimism that life will start to return to a new normal.  The talk has prompted discussions about what a new normal looks like.  Do you think you will continue to wear a mask?  Will you still do online networking?  What changes will you keep in your business? 

These are great questions. 

In my household, my husband and I have had many conversations recently about our pre-pandemic life compared to our pandemic life.   Specifically what we want to bring back and what we want to keep.  As my husband and I discuss these, I realize that we were really talking about setting boundaries. 

My husband and I were VERY social people before the pandemic.  We were booking social events weeks, even months in advance.  Our weekends were often so full that we could have plans Friday, Saturday, and even Sunday.  In 2020 we had started to set boundaries around our time.  We were trying to limit the number of social events on a weekend and even give ourselves weekends with no plans.  Very shortly after setting that boundary, the world shut down.  We didn’t need to enforce the boundaries; it just happened naturally.   Today, most of our weekends are spent quietly at home.  Our zoom socials are few and far between as most of our friends are just tired of zoom. 

I miss my friends.  I still have holiday gifts to deliver.  I even have some birthday gifts to deliver.  I can’t wait to play board games and share a meal with those I enjoy spending time with.  We have maintained friendships with almost all of our close friends, even during many months of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.  However, my husband and I have also enjoyed having a balanced weekend of chores, minimal social, and rest. Therefore, if we are going to maintain a balance we feel comfortable with, we will once again set boundaries.  

I think this conversation about setting boundaries as we re-open is essential.  I think it is something we all need to think about.  Not just for the balance you want in your life as re-open but also to have the conversations about who you let back in and how.

For some of us, the lockdowns have provided a great excuse to put off or significantly limit exposure to certain people and conversations.  For example, Family relationships that challenge your views, friendships that might be more toxic than good, or someone who takes advantage of you.  As we re-open, your interactions with these people may increase.  You may find yourself at BBQs and other gatherings where you are once again faced with uncomfortable situations and possible disagreements.  

When you think of the possibilities of these interactions, I suggest you think about what you want and then establish the boundaries around that.  If the idea of setting boundaries makes you uncomfortable, I suggest you start to explore those feelings.  Also, be prepared that once you set the boundaries you will be tested.  I invite you to review this quote: 

“I allow myself to set healthy boundaries.

To say no to what does not align with my values, to say yes to what does.

Boundaries assist me to remain healthy, honest and living a life that is true to me.”

Lee Horbachewski

I encourage each of you to take some time and really think about what you want for yourself in your post-pandemic life.  Consider who you want in it or who you want to limit your interactions with.  Set your boundaries.  Even consider to what extent you are willing to have difficult conversations about some of the difficult topics we are facing in the world today.  What are your boundaries for these topics?   What will you tolerate? 

I am excited that we are starting to re-open.  I am excited to visit friends, have dinner at a restaurant and even get on a plane.  I am also nervous about enforcing my boundaries around what I want in my life.  Who I want in my life and what I’m willing to allow in my life.  Maybe you, too, feel both excited and nervous. 

I’m curious.  Will you take the time to consider what you want and set the boundaries you need? 

Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappoint others.

Brene Brown