Living on the Edge
- An idiom for living an unpredictable life (can have positive and negative connotations depending on the person)
- Someone who lives on a rocky precipice
- Living on the outskirts of a community
- Being at the end of the world
Well, for the last fortyish years, I’ve done three out of four, although we have fspent various holidays in properties on the side of mountains. I’ve lived on the edge of a villiage and I currently live a stone’s throw from the sea (turn right and you’re there, the edge of the world). However, the most relevant definition is the ever-changing unpredictable life which we undoubtedly all lead.
It’s easy to live on the edge when you’re sixteen. Living an unpredictable and free life can be exciting, and with a distinct lack of responsibilities, can also empower you to take chances. I can remember turning sixteen and feeling that my whole life was laid out in front of me. A blank canvas ready to paint a million colours upon, and in an unruly design. A Jackson Pollock so to speak. Therefore, the most exciting time ensued: freedom, college, parties, new places, new experiences…living on the edge with no real plan. I was allowed. Like I said you’ve no responsibilities. However, it’s never that simple is it? Living on the edge can become uncomfortable. You HAVE to plan sometimes, and you can’t just lead some hedonistic reality which selfishly revolves around you. Also, if you’re like me and living with (a then undiagnosed) disability, you’re tardiness (due to living on the edge), you’re perceived to be flaky and very quickly people get the wrong impression of you. Stuff happens, you become afraid and very quickly ‘living on the edge’takes on another, more sinister meaning.
As it happens, my youthful freedom lasted a very short time compared to the last twenty odd years of slog. A lifetime of living precariously on a cliff-edge of frustration, fear and bad luck. I’ve had to lead a structured OCD life through the fear of failing or not being. able to cope. Being a young mum made me aim for perfection. No chances were taken and a hermit life seemed the best way to cope. My wits couldn’t take it any other way. There’s too much ground to go over, and I’m not really into dragging up old issues and scenarios. However, I will bring you to this time last year: November 2018.
Before I got ill, as in slightly mad and in the throws of a breakdown. Where the dark days were drawing in on me, I had this feeling of living on a knife edge. I felt I was walking the blade and that any minute I could slip, or be pushed and that my life would be over. (Paranoia was my best friend). This meant my family’s too. You see, part of the anxious years prior to this meant I was the one who drove and led the family. No one’s fault, just that awful C word which made me protect all the ones I loved and push forward with a bullet proof vest. I felt I had no option. I had to be infallible. Only,that’s not possible is it?
Imagine walking a dangerous knife edge – like a tight-rope, with one partially working eye. It’s not fun and it’s not clever. Anxiety, palpitations and insomnia came into play WAY before the dark clouds gathered. I had no idea what was coming, I’d always been the one to cope. I’m the strong one. Living on the edge? I was afraid and that’s not a place I enjoyed being. I felt that the free-fall was going to kill me. I thought my life was over.
The rest you know. Let’s fast forward to November 2019. I’m living on the edge again. But, this time it’s euphoric and full of hope and happiness. You see, I’ve taught myself to live a little. At one time I was scared of my own shadow,birds and the wind,..now I walk miles with the RDog, on a wild and windy beach. She chases the birds for me and we walk to, what feels like, the end of the world. It makes me feel bold and brave, like I can do anything. Once upon a time I couldn’t leave the house. I now feel like I can do anything. My sight loss, mental health and responsibilities don’t define me. I’ve shed the heavy cloak which was threatening to drag my over the edge and now I’m a ballerina, avec tutu, pirouetting in that edge and having the time of my life!