This is the fourth go around with writing this article, since each of the previous times I have typed the words to create it, they have disappeared before I can save them. The message is clear... slow down and allow the thoughts to flow, rather than attempting to type at lightning speed. Hoping the fourth time's the charm.
I have long been equally fascinated with boundaries and borders that delineate between one place and the next, one thought from another, one experience from that which lay before me, as well as what unifies and merges people with each other. Not mutually exclusive, as I am discovering.
When I was a pre-teen, my family visited a ranch that was situated between New York and Pennsylvania. Once I made sure that no cars were heading my way, I stood in the middle of the street with one foot one either side. A few years later, we traveled to Canada and I wanted to know if the air felt different in another country. It didn't. Not sure how many other young people wondered these things, but I was a quirky kid with unlimited curiosity, clearly planting the seeds for my career as a writer.
My definitions of the flexibility that it takes to live a life that blends those two ways of being at times- boundary oriented and a permeable membrane have changed dramatically since the heart attack four months ago.
There was a time when I wobbled and wavered between being a laissez faire-go-with the flow-cosmic foo foo free spirit and a rigid adherent to ridiculous rules I created for myself and by extension, others. Neither state was completely healthy and effective in creating a whole and complete life. These days, I give myself permission to renegotiate agreements, take naps when my body warns me that it needs time to rest and re-create and leap into life in far different ways.
I decided that permission to do what I choose as long as it harms no one, is the direction I am heading. Having turned 56 on October 13th, it felt like it was about time. When once I put others' opinions of me and how I should live my life, or perhaps just my perception of what the 'propriety police' might think, ahead of my own, I now ask myself what I want to do, where I want to go, how I want to invest my time and resources. On the birthday card from my 27-year-old son, were the words he had inscribed "God gave you a second chance for YOU."
One of things I have long fantasized about was dying my hair purple. I work for myself now, not needing to adhere to a dress code. So, out I went to the local beauty supply store and got a container of Manic Panic which is a vegan, cruelty free hair color and painted on a hue called Mystic (perfect for this Opti-Mystic who views the world through the eyes of possibility).
Yesterday, I accepted a last-minute invitation from a friend to accompany him to see 50's-60's and still going strong musical icon, Chubby Checker, in concert. Talk about sweating to the Oldies! We spent most of the performance moving to the music and then came the opportunity to join the man who still has the pipes and can shake it like nobody's business on stage. I was not about to let that chance pass me by. My friend kept checking in with me to make sure I was pacing myself and not going to keel over. I assured him that it was doing my heart good.
Tonight I received a call from my kiddo who thought I was crazy for dying my hair purple. "Mom, you know how you said you are going to do whatever you want since you had the heart attack?"
"Yes," I answer hesitantly, wondering what he has in mind. "Why don't you get a tattoo? You were thinking about it."
"Thinking about it years ago and wanting one are two different things. First of all, I don't like pain. Second of all, being on blood thinners, I bleed and bruise easily, so no tattoo... but thanks for the encouragement." Love his creativity and sometimes his support for his goofy mom who is willing to do The Twist as she walks the line.