There has been a lot of talk over the last while of wall building. I feel like it is not only something that people with authority are trying to implement, but one that we as global citizens also try to enforce. We do this in the way we judge the decisions of others, on how they live their lives, on the choices they make for themselves and we think that the choices we make for ourselves and those like us are the right ones. Is this not building our own wall around our own lives? Closing ourselves off to the possibility of learning about something new, embarking on an adventure you may never have thought of, or finding beauty in the unknown? I get that often we build walls around our lives because we are afraid, afraid of that we don’t agree with, don’t know and simply don’t understand. The thing with a wall, whether we build it or others do, is that it blocks the view. A wall doesn’t allow people in, or even for others to enjoy what is on the other side, or simply to become curious. Instead, a wall creates confusion, assumptions and misconceptions.
What am I exactly rambling on about? Well, I was a wall builder for a long time. I built a wall that “People should travel and see the world before they get married and have kids.” I judged, I made assumptions, I had misconceptions. I was also on the other side of this wall, where I was the one being judged for not wanting that life, for wanting “adventure in the great, wide somewhere” instead. It was taking a step back for a moment from these two points of view and realising that neither are wrong or right, they are just different, that made me come up with the theory of the picket fence.
You know the “American dream” of the house with the “white picket fence”. Well this is how my theory goes:
Everyone has a picket fence, some people like it to be just painted white, some have graffiti, others decorate it in glitter, or blue and white stripes, some collect badges from all around the world, others hang medals and degrees on theirs, some need theirs for extra space to hang all the baby clothes that need drying. The thing with your picket fence is that it is YOURS and you should decorate it however you so wish! However you need to be watering and looking after what ever is on your side of the picket fence. If you are married at 20, water that marriage, if you want 30 stamps in your passport, visit those 30 countries, if you want a doctorate by the time you are 40, make it happen, and do it as best you can, without regrets, without apologies for being you. And to those on the other side of the picket fence, realise that instead of a wall being built, the picket fence is open, allowing you to view into their lives, so admire, learn from, appreciate and encourage each other in what they have chosen. If people choose to change the look of their fence, then help them do it too.
Walls build divides, they do not allow for vulnerability, or encouragement, but fences do. Beauty is inviting, and when you are doing what it is you love and are called to do, people will be drawn to admire and encourage. Yes, there will be haters, but that’s because they have built a wall in their own lives, encourage them to decorate their fence and let life in. One song, that is a little cheesy, but its lyrics are amazing, is “Follow Your Arrow” by Kacey Musgraves. So in following your arrow, wherever it leads, stop building the walls, create the picket fence you want and water it to be full of beauty.