Transcending the boundaries of the familiar

Recently, I’ve been reading a terrific book by Nathaniel Branden, The Art of Living Consciously. In this book, he refers to the efforts and need to transcend the “boundaries of the familiar.” Moving back to DC after 15+ years away has certainly forced me to confront such matters. Returning home to a city that has changed so much since I’ve been away (and I, too, have changed) has acquainted me with wonderful and not so wonderful alterations to the landscape. But those clear cut disparities are easy to see, what comes as more surprising are the ones that involve your family or childhood friends and ways of relating. As someone recently observed to me (I say this in the context of now being semi-young), we’re in the middle of our life, but we continually revert to reacting and thinking about things as if we were teenagers.

When I was a senior in high school, my aunt once said to me, “You’ll never know as much about the world as you do at seventeen.” I was perplexed by her nonsense and readily dismissed it because I knew so much. But my most recent experiment with transcending the boundaries of the familiar came just a few days ago. My dad was making blueberry waffles for breakfast. As I sat there reading the paper, I observed that he hadn’t bothered to use any Pam to minimize the amount of stuck on food for the waffle iron. Before I opened my mouth to “helpfully suggest” he attend to this, I put the brakes on, choosing to remain silent. The next day, there he was with an old toothbrush and the point of my best paring knife scraping the remains of the waffles off the grid. “No,” I thought to myself, “you can always get a new knife.” This, my friends, is an example of me transcending the boundaries of my familiar. I actually am quite proud of the fact that I approached this a different way–but it wasn’t easy or natural for me to keep my trap shut. So, my question for you to contemplate is what are some of the ways you have transcended the boundaries of your familiar? Think on that awhile.


3 Responses to “Transcending the boundaries of the familiar”

  1. Angela Berenstein Says:

    Well, Just yesterday I resigned from my job, with the letter of resignation written on a cake and on a silicon wafer the size of a quarter. If you go to my website, you can see a photo.

  2. Julie Crispin Says:

    I’m impressed that your dad was making his own waffles! I love to cook, and we’re strictly an Eggos family.

  3. Julie Says:

    Excellent work, my semi-young friend. This is how we stay semi-young, you see! 🙂

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