The air is rarely thick with discord. But when it comes to matters that are important to me, I do not really find myself backing down when I think that a course of action is a bad idea. I can be quite stubborn in certain aspects that for me are non-negotiable. For example, my child’s future falls in that category. 

I am particular about boundaries. I have witnessed the chaos brought about by the lack of boundaries. In my former line of work, boundaries can be subject of lawsuits and bitter enmities among people who own their properties. In life, I am quite particular about personal boundaries, privacy, and an ability to individuate when the mainstream choice is not completely sound. 

Early life experiences taught me to grow a spine much earlier than other people. My 19-year-old self made decisions about midterm exam reviews and filing a barangay case against horrible tenants and choosing between watching my sister in the hospital for her pneumonia and attending a crucial exam in one of my major subjects. At age 16, I had to learn about signatures and managing utilities, basically all those things required in keeping a home together. It was not a very easy life, but somehow it trained me to have some foresight that other people my age do not have. It cultivated in me life skills that are handy for adulthood’s demands. It made me more perceptive and able to read situations. Sure, my cooking skills need more work but I know a thing or two about other adulting basics like paying the bills, making ends meet, and multitasking responsibilities. 

That’s probably why there are domestic topics that I am quite firm on. I won’t hesitate to have a vice-like grip on things I have proven to be effective based on my early life experiences. It’s not in my nature to go wishy washy and have a come what may, substandard approach to certain life decisions, especially if it will affect the family and nest I am building with my husband and child who is about to come into this world soon. I know where I have come from, and I know where I want to go from here. It makes me a bit intense and serious but I don’t mind. When the going gets tough, you need that intense seriousness to get you through the very worst until you reach the very best. You can’t have a flippant person in a crisis. You need someone reliable. 

Constantly, I am being tested. I see some warning signs and try to avoid a potential disaster by erecting safeguards. Some people who do not see the danger think of my measures as overkill, but be the first to complain about the consequences after I let them have their way. It disgusts me a lot when people do that. Where is your accountability for your game plan if you do not have the spine to endure the consequence of not preparing in advance? People often wait until the last minute, until it is too late and the consequences are dire, irreversible, and destructive not just to them but to other people. Some people can afford to be painfully choosy and then later end up having nothing to show for it instead of harnessing and taking advantage of what’s already right in front of them. 

I like spontaneity in a moderate amount. But I like plans even when they do not always get followed to the letter in real life. I like direction, order, and clear timelines for achieving dreams. I hate hypothetical conversations that do not move things forward tangibly. That’s like reading a puff pastry of a novel sequence of events that have no bearing whatsoever on the main plot and developing the main characters. Useless and a waste of saliva to even discuss them. 

For years, I often stayed on the safe zone. But you’re never a real adult unless you make tough calls and take a stand for your beliefs. You become a shell of a man when you do not act on your deeply seated principles in life. I take risks when needed. I dare to surprise myself with an occasional dollop of courage when the situation calls for it. And right now, I have to be extra ferocious to make my case on a certain issue. And I know that if I do not get the support of a very important person in my life, I have to stand by this and remain strong even if his lack of support will make this difficult. 

Whether we have someone in life or not, we sometimes reach a point in our lives where we have to make decisions on our own and confront some battles that you and only you can take on. It reminds us that even when we have our tribes and our groups, we sometimes have to break away and oppose the tide, to carve out a new path where there used to be none, and to make difficult choices that even the ones we love cannot fully comprehend or understand. We may be ridiculed for doing what resonates deeply within us as the right thing to do, but the other option in not doing it leads to a haunted lifetime, to hollowed despair that silently cries at night and within the walls of our deepest, innermost selves. It’s exhausting to keep living in the midst of such tension. But that is life. 

It’s the boundaries we do not set that often leads to our undoing. Boundaries are good. Discord is uncomfortable but occasionally necessary.