Monday, January 31, 2011

My Front Door

My front door is nothing special. It’s old. The nasty brown paint is missing in spots. It’s really heavy and the door frame has seen better days so you have to slam it to get it to latch.

But it works. It protects us from the elements. It keeps us safe. It greets people.

Or it keeps people out.

Here’s the deal. It’s my door. And I get to decide what to do with it. If you come to my house and knock on my door I might not answer. Even if I’m home. Even if I’m dressed for the day. Even if I’m not really doing anything.

I am under no obligation to do so. There is no law that says I have to open my door to anyone who knocks on it. Or even acknowledge that I hear them.

And I refuse to feel any guilt about it.

Sometimes I don’t feel well. Sometimes I’m napping. Sometimes I have a bad headache. Sometimes I am avoiding someone and since I don’t know who knocked I don’t answer the door; it’s just not worth taking the chance.  And sometimes I just don't want to talk to anyone.

And I do the same with my phone. Even if I love you I might not answer when you call. I might not call you back. I can usually see who’s calling because of caller ID, but that doesn’t always change things. Sometimes I’m just not up to answering the phone.

Or a text message.

I know our society is all about instant gratification. Instant information flow. Instant communication. And lots of times I play the game. You text and I text right back. You call and I answer. You email and I respond before you’ve even moved on to something else.

But not always.

It’s my phone. It’s my door. It’s my time. It’s my life. I get to decide what to do with it. Even if that means slowing down. Even if that means not answering you long enough that you find your own solution instead of always relying on me. Even if that means you have to call someone else. Or do without.

Even if that means you have to be alone.

I am no longer interested in being all things to all people. I’m too worn out. Now I use great care to pick and choose where I spend my precious time and energy.

And I refuse to apologize for it.

Unless you live in my house with me -- then I kind of feel like I should unlock the door for you. I guess you’re special.

But I still have my bedroom door.


Cheryl D. said...

You go, girl! You're absolutely right!

Lisa said...

What the h? You totally read my mind. Fa real. And this is exactly what I was thinking the other day. Wow. Love it.

Survivor said...

I totally agree!!! Years and years ago my mother made the comment, "Just because the phone rings doesn't mean you have to answer it." I live that way too. I even go so far as to turn the ringer off at night when I sleep. I rarely turn it on before 10 AM. Only once in all the years of me doing it has there been an "important" call. I received the information a couple hours later. I did leave the ringer on at the time my dad was going down hill, but that was an exception. I don't always answer the door either and never after dark unless I know who it is. It's my house, my space, my rules.

Kazzy said...

I can't tell if you are using this as a snarky way of asking for more visitors...

But seriously, we of course have the right to reject calls or guests, but I would find it interesting to see you write about possible losses when we do so. A thoughtful treaty on positive AND negative effects of our daily choices. That would show some self-examination that wasn't so angry.

And I will stop knocking on your door if it bugs you that much (kidding).

dawn said...

Hey there!
I have been feeling the very same way. The only difference is that people ring my door bell which gets the dogs barking and riled up which means that the nap I was taking or the show I was watching or the book I was reading have to be stopped, paused or put down to get the dogs to calm down and go back to napping while waiting for the kids to get home from school. The trick is to do this WITHOUT letting the person at the door know I am home! LOL!
Easier said than done most days, but I have perfected my technique after 2 weeks of practice while dying on the couch from the flu from hell.
Take care and answer when you feel like it, otherwise, it's too much like work and then it's just not fun anymore!

Day said...

I have had this rant in my head so many times. :)

MommyToTwoBoys said...

I have never heard such an amazing post about a door. So true, so well said. I need to take this attitude more often.

Jessica Grosland said...

Does this mean I'm not getting in trouble for ignoring phone calls anymore? WOOT!

Anonymous said...

OH. MY. GOD. Can I Puh-lease have permission to reprint this on my blog? On my front door? Send it to my Mother?

This has become my feeling just over the last 3 or 4 years. I'm the oldest of five and my whole LIFE has been about giving...until recently.

I figured out that to be happy, I should only do so much. I will not make everybody else happy no matter how many times I answer the why answer the phone.

My focus is on the folks that live within my four walls. And, that's enough.

This made me day.

D. Rene

SAC said...

I may have to link to this from my blog.

And/or carry the web address with me at all times, to hand out...

As to the down side? It is, of course, that a few people will be offended. Some of them, once they figure out that it isn't meant as a personal affront when you don't answer the door to them, will eventually become unoffended. A small number, who think that doing anything different from the rest of society is inherently offensive, may not come back.

But to me, the offense is totally worth it. I mean, REALLY. Remember the Air Florida crash in 1982, when the copilot was afraid of offending the pilot by telling him that there was too much ice on the wings to take off and then most of the folks on board died in the ensuing crash?

Not every copilot is faced with the decision of giving offense or letting themselves and the vast majority of their passengers die, just like not every door-owner is faced with a choice of either giving offense or staying (at least marginally) sane. But sometimes giving offense IS worth the cost, and each person has the right to decide if it's worth it to them.

LBDDiaries said...

What a GREAT post! I quit feeling obligated to answer my phone a few years ago. It doesn't mean I don't "love" people but exactly like you said, I am NOT obligated to jump just because someone knocked, rang or emailed!

Ms Bibi said...

I couldn't said that better myself. I absolutely agree with you.Everybody expects everything and right away. Sometimes I am not ready, able or willing.

Stopping by from SITs

Saretta said...

Yeah! You got it right.

Anonymous said...

This blog put a smile on my face. I am currently living in a flat where everyone else seems to be rowdy and noisy and it feels like my personal space is invaded. I feel like everyone thinks I'm strange because I guess nervous when I encounter these scary people on my trip to the kitchen or bathroom. I shouldn't feel like I have to open the door to everyone when they knock or like I have to put on a happy persona if I don't feel like it. My door my life (;

Thanks for putting your post up,