Maintaining the Edges

I keep parts of my property unmown. The tall grasses and flowers are lovely, and it saves me work.

But I always mow a double lane around the entire perimeter and any obstacles or objects like trees or gullies. The edges of the property need to be maintained, or else the property will begin to shrink.

Every few weeks, the mowing around the edges gets tough and the mower struggles to get through it. The thick unmown encroaches on the lower, kempt grass. I’ve got to push back the boundaries regularly. There is no state of neutral. The boundaries are either being actively pushed back, or they are actively encroaching in.

I’ve often thought of this when I publish a blog post or a Tweet or make a career move.

Once you carve out a space in the world, the edges of that space will begin to close in if you don’t actively beat them back.

You’ll get defined, labelled, and categorized. Maybe all well and good – and even quite useful if they are accurate. But they don’t stay put. The categorizations, the public perception of your brand and identity is like the perimeter of my lawn. There’s no stasis. It moves in on you if you leave it unattended.

You must constantly redefine the edges of your identity. You’ve got to bushwhack it when it starts to close you in and reduce your scope of movement. Sometimes that’s unpleasant work. Sometimes it irritates people who were creeping up your lawn assuming parts of it were theirs.

So be it. Keep those edges trim. The wilderness is beautiful to look at and even wander through. But your property has to be maintained or be overrun.