Recently I purchased a large table from a consignment store where my friend Dorothy took me after a long search for just the right dining table for my large family and the occasional group of friends from church who come for potluck. When they delivered it, the workmen carefully positioned it rectangularly in the dining area.
I was admiring it while wishing for a few more inches of extra space here and there. My friend Ann suggested slanting it a bit. Before we were through it was diagonal to the dining area nicely framing the corner where a Norfolk pine sat on a corner occasional table. Windows splay out on each side of the corner, giving an effect of space and geometric peace, kinda like the sun’s rays on a pleasant morning. I was thrilled.
Come to think of it, this is not the first time I’ve chosen to live life on the bias. Several years before retirement I took a notion to pop in and take a look at a new subdivision being built nearby with the idea of moving to a smaller one-story place when I retired. (My knees didn’t like the stairs, and we were beginning to find it a challenge to care for the simply lovely acre we lived on.) Before it was over I had fallen in love with a house which had lots of slants, angles, curves and unusual ceilings and decided to move immediately.
When I explained to my son that we were moving to a place close by he remarked, “So you’re picking up everything you own and moving it a few blocks away just because you like Geometry?” Yup, guilty as charged. A dear friend Will who did marvelous wood carving dropped by soon after he heard this story with a wonderful plaque which forever dubbed our home The Geometry House!
The move turned out to be a lucky decision since my husband was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive type of Stage IV cancer just as we were settling in. It made my life as Larry Mac’s caregiver much easier not having those stairs any more. Who knows, maybe the geometric atmosphere is partly why we both continue to live a pleasant life.
Also, our “stuff” had been reduced by culling and organizing during the move. When you have to pick up each and every item you own, it’s a good time to face up to what you don’t need any more. My rule was, “If we haven’t played with it in 3 years or so, it simply isn’t ours any more, so we must find a new owner for it.” In fact, it’s nice knowing that someone else can enjoy books and other things I loved.
While I was sorting through our belongings I also was playing around sketching on graph paper to make decisions about where furniture would go, etc. I was struggling with where to put the long couch since any place I thought of putting it seemed to cut off the openness of the living area. Richard, a friend from Florida, stood with arms outstretched and said, “Why not put it here?” I was ecstatic at how the couch was just right when placed on the bias going parallel with the corner fireplace! One more diagonal in my lovely life:-)
Perhaps I’ve been trying to live on the bias all along. Several years ago a friend remarked on how I always hold my coffee cup a bit on the slant. I answered her that I’d been a little off center for years and wasn’t likely to change. Maybe that was a sign of things to come. That same idea is true of my thinking: I don’t seem to use the usual paradigms. I don’t just think outside of the box, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t think in 3D and circularly, ahem!
The nice thing about being retired is that one is not beholden to anyone. There is no pressure to do certain things to keep a job or court someone’s favor, so seniors have much latitude in the choices to live as they want to. What a wonderful opportunity to be yourself as an older adult. Go ahead and do it your way. Live diagonally! Maybe we can have it both ways.
Live life on the bias where it’s more interesting and not nearly so frayed.
Copyright by Hildra Tague. Contact author for permission to use in print or online.