You can’t rough the passer.”
“You have to wait until she snaps the ball to move.”
“You can’t block with your hands.”
Last week, women’s social clubs kicked off their annual flag football season, and so began several weeks of me forgetting all sorts of rules. This week I played my first flag football game in Division II, and it’s truly remarkable how many times I was reprimanded for disobeying guidelines such as those above.
It’s not that I’m completely inept when it comes to the basics of football. After seven years in marching band throughout both high school and college, I’ve watched enough games to understand the general guidelines. And to be fair, many rules in the intramural social club league are different than those in NCAA tackle football. My problem isn’t a lack of knowledge, however — my problem is that I can never remember them during the play itself.
Guidelines are important to life. In the example of flag football, rules keep players safe and keep the game fair. Without protective pads or helmets, players certainly should not be allowed to fully tackle. Without sidelines, the game would be chaos in lieu of spacial boundaries. The guidelines for flag football help make the game bearable.
Generally, many of us have an understanding of the importance of regulations in games, classes, work and society. Even when we complain (and even when we “forget” about them), we get it. Reasonable rules help things run.
Unfortunately, there is one area in which we tend to disregard rules almost constantly. Actually, I don’t even think we recognize the importance of guidelines in this area at all.
Our distribution of personal time should have boundaries in place, serving as our own rules for day-to-day life.
I’ll be completely honest — when I first stepped into the role of editor this year, things didn’t go well. I allowed this job to take over all my time, and it wasn’t healthy. My relationships suffered, both my physical and mental health took a nosedive, and my spiritual life was rocky at best. Those first two weeks were rough.
At the end of the last school year, my friend and former editor-in-chief Kaleb Turner sat down to graciously give me advice as I prepared for this new role. He shared a lot of wisdom with me that afternoon on the porch of Midnight Oil, but the biggest piece of counsel was the one I ignored for the longest time. Kaleb told me to set boundaries for myself — to not let this job take over my life.
After a few weeks of doing exactly the opposite of that, I finally listened to his advice and began establishing, and actually following, personal boundaries. In giving up time dedicated to work, I’ve somehow found myself more productive. Just as I follow AP Style guidelines in my writing, I try to follow the rules regarding how I spend my time.
Since establishing and being intentional with my personal rules, I’ve found myself reconnecting with several friends. I have felt able to make spontaneous coffee trips without the guilt of neglecting work. I’ve even found time to play flag football — now I just need to actually figure out those rules, too.