2013: A New Game Plan

By Mary Ann O’Neil

The line at the pharmacy was long…. very long…even longer than that! I have a lot of things on my TO-DO list every day, none of which includes waiting on line.  My impatience can get the better of me quickly, so I tried to distract myself by timing how long it took the next two people on line to get their prescriptions, then calculating how long it would be before I was waited on, guesstimating the average age of people on line, and cleaning out the clutter in my purse. I was beside myself with impatience.

I began balancing on one foot, then the other. I know this sounds ridiculous, it’s just something I do. So there I was, inside, racing with impatience.  To the outside world, to anyone looking at me, I was as patient as a person could possibly be. Standing on one leg, in my pink skinny jeans, looking like a patient flamingo.

Just then, a huge voice bellowed from behind me, “Open up another register. I am getting old on this line!” I heard the proverbial pin hit the floor as every head turned in unison to see who had been so rude. There she was, a tiny frail looking elderly woman.  She just looked right  back at me as if to pick a fight and said, “What?”  The pharmacist’s steely eyes said volumes as she stared at the women, and signaled to someone to open another cash register.

I smiled.  She wasn’t rude. She was bold.

I invited her for a cup of coffee next door where I asked her secret to living 94 years on this earth.  “I have always been BOLD.” she said.  “I refused to wear a hat to church when all ladies did, and I mixed plaids and patterns all the time, well before it was fashionable.  I often changed my place card at dinner parties because I wanted to sit next to a handsome man, and I married two of them, you know!  And every night, I eat my dessert first, just because I can.”

Our chat ended as her chariot pulled up to take her home.  I visited Alice two times after that day, and the third time we had dinner together. We ate apple pie, soup and what Alice called “whatever meat”, in that order. She was a lion as compared to my flamingo.

Alice passed away a month later and I attended her memorial service.  Alice was predeceased by her daughter and three husbands, so it was just a handful of friends and me.  A minister said some vanilla things that could have been said about anyone. Surely he could have said that she was a woman before her time, that she spoke her mind, or that she refused to wear a hat to church. The minister didn’t know much about Alice.  But neither did I, as Alice didn’t talk about her past life, “It is what you do today, my dear, that is worth talking about,” Alice said.  My wondering mind was distracted as I heard the minister ask,”Does anyone wish to say a few words about Alice?” Without even thinking, I stood up, went to the podium and said….”Alice gave me the spirit of BOLD.”

BOLD is confident, gutsy, and pushes boundaries beyond the ordinary. I am bold when it comes to living my values and challenging myself to new heights. I am not bold when I stand on line, looking at a flawed process, not saying anything.

2013 is going to be a BOLD year for me.  Thank you, Alice!

And You?  Any interest in joining me?