A plot of sand at the beach, deck chairs at the pool, a spot in line, a seat toward the back of the class and hundreds of other locations are the temporary spots that we mark out for ourselves. They are important to us only as long as we need them. Although we know that they are just for now, we defend them and sometimes ruthlessly. The territoriality of humans and the individually made rules associated with it are complex and seemingly inherent. We want to have a space to call our own and defend it with fervor.
This phenomena was on full display for me in the past few days when I visited three different amusement parks. The defensiveness of the space is heightened as the density of people increases. Also the perceived stakes of the space comes into play heavily. The value that the individual puts on the space is largely influenced by the scarcity of the “prize” that the space provides. People waiting in line for entrance into the park are much more defensive than the people in the wave pool waiting to get hit by a wave. Although it is all temporary, the ownership feels very real.
Ultimately almost all of our space is temporary and will eventually belong to someone else. Houses, apartments, cars and even our burial plots will eventually belong to another person, creature or to nature itself. Despite our very temporary hold on these forms of real estate, we spend time protecting and preserving them as if they were indefinite. There is one place only you will ever own. Yet many people allow easy access to this space as if it were just a blanket on the beach.
Your mind is your own and will be as long as you defend it. Like holding your place in line, you need to be aware of those who are trying to sneak in. Much like the owner of a house who has teenage children, you must be aware of people that you trust having a party at your expense. No one will care for this space as much as you. So mark your territory! Be aware of who is allowed in and who needs to be kept out. This is your real estate, don’t put it up for auction.
Have a great day!