I love borders, borders of states, countries, time and imaginary lines that serve as worldwide dividers like the equator. I have stood with one foot in Italy and the other in the Vatican; one foot in Ireland, the other in Northern Ireland. My family has driven miles out of our way to cross the Artic Circle in Finland, the Continental Divide in Colorado and borders around the continent.
With each crossing, I imagined all that separates the two sides. Sometimes the things that divide one side from the other seem so small and insignificant that it is hard to determine the differences. And other times the border divides economics, language, politics, religion, culture and history. Today I still hold my breath when I cross over a border.
The Great Divides
Every border that I crossed as a child was different. Some border guards waved us past without checking passports, while others like Check Point Charlie (into former East Berlin), which clearly had more stringent protocols, will remain forever engraved in my memory. The border between East Berlin and West Berlin was the most monumental one I ever crossed. I saw the evidence of those who lost their lives reaching for freedom, a freedom I never again took for granted after my fingers touched the bullet holes left by the historical struggle of people that had once been free and then suddenly were walled into their city; divided and separated from their country. When those walls fell, I could hear the collective cry of freedom thousands of miles away.
Borders, Like Our Differences, Can Strengthen Us
As a child I wondered if I was the same on both sides of a border. Or if mysteriously the borders changed me to blend in to the culture I had crossed into. My father always said, “When in Rome do as the Romans do,” or whatever city we were in. That must explain why my family picked up traditions like bad habits around the globe. Nothing about me changed crossing borders; I simply grew stronger as a person as a result of knowing a little about another country, city or culture. I took pieces of memory to store in the scrapbook of my mind so that I could eventually relate to anyone, anywhere.
We are all traveling through time. Even if physically we stand upon the same ground we were born on, we are traveling. We are gathering history, memories and people to fill our days. We have just crossed the border between 2012 and 2013. What will we do with the time, the places and the people that we travel with? Will 2013 be the year you start a new hobby, a business, change your business, write a book, publish a book, change your diet, or exercise more? In 2012 I published the book When I was Young I Flew the Sun Like a Kite and I am excited for what I will publish in 2013.
Hold your breath a moment as you move contemplatively into 2013. The New Year can simply divide with a marker of time or it can be the year you create a whole new you. Unless you decided to make changes and grow, everything will be the same, for awhile at least.
Don’t Get Left Behind
If all you are doing is marching in place, the future will eventually leave you behind.
Your border crossing may hold years of history that have held you back, or fears that have ruled your today, or be a simple step forward. Whether the border guards are waving you past or the crossing is difficult, the freedom of choosing your future is yours.
May the year 2013 be the beginning of a great adventure for you! May you gain more laugh lines than frown lines this year.