Outside the Lines

Life can be described by a BOX of crayons. Most people would classify themselves as the 8-color box, assuming that they encompass the entire rainbow. They can draw LINES, each placed together to create a picture, a real piece of art.

But what most people don’t realize is that they are cutting themselves short. What we should be looking for is the 64-color box. MANNNN, no, even better, the 64-color box with the sharpeners on the back! Now that is the fancy life. Imagine the art you can create now, so many colors, so many variations, so many choices.

The settings of our lives can be described as a series of boxes. Boxes of different sizes, dimensions, and curvatures, make up our homes, our cars, and our clothing. The first box is my room. Whether we share the room with one person, two, or have the room to ourselves, we exist in a box, confined (usually) by 4 walls, a floor, and a ceiling: 6 faces, 12 lines. As I make breakfast, again I encounter boxes. The box is tipped upside down as the tasty pieces of cereal collide with the bowl. Six walls, that poor cereal, trapped inside 12 lines. I take a step outside my door and my notice the stairs which I must descend down. This time the lines which make up the box are WAY more complex, existing as the surface area of each riser and each tread. If I do not abide by these boxes, I fall. Falling is a consequence. A consequence of you existing outside the lines.

We live in a “live by the rules” or you will “face the consequences” society. It says, “EXIST within your LINES or you will not succeed, move forward, or accomplish what you would like to achieve”. When we are young, we often encounter coloring books. It is expected that we COLOR between the lines. The lines define our expected behavior in order to acquire positive results. But, this brings about a problem.

The problem is simple. The problem is society. It prescribes how we should be, instead of how we are. It suggests the path we should take by placing boundaries (lines) around everything we encounter. Type here, write there, drive here, draw there. Now, we have learned that those boundaries are meant for the 8-color crayon boxes. The 64-color crayon boxes have more choices, more options on how to color their world. They do not need as many guideLINES.

Along with how to color between the “lines”, we are taught in school that we must “read between the lines”. What, seriously? Every time I have tried that, I have come up with just about every thought except the one the author meant. Rational or irrational, thoughts must always be deciphered, no matter how well they are articulated. Words on a page and characters on a computer screen are simple; they are just a bunch of lines.

To fix these issues we must simply “think outside the lines”.
i.e. place ourselves BEYOND the box. 

For example, my morning continues as I walk to the subway to catch the train. I walk between two lines. One line being the row of houses, and the other being the road. I tread on the sidewalk like any other person would, but instead of viewing my surroundings as they are, I view them as I want them to be. One side now colored blue, crashing against my feet as I walk barefoot in a shade of sand. Boundaries vanish as lines become colors and my state of mind turns warm with the beach in my forefront. My 64-color world depicts something different than reality, but reality is whatever you define it as, no matter how confined the boxes of life make you feel.

Each of the lines that create boxes can be adjusted to fit your ideal surroundings. Each of the segments that make up those lines can be thickened or thinned. They can be curvy, straight, dashed, or dotted. The lines in your life are only drawn by you with the shade being a choice of 64-colors and the contrast being a choice of pressure on the page.  No matter your choices, there is no need to rely on boundaries because some of the best people are the ones that don’t fit into boxes.

-Happiness in Handfulls

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