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    Foot-loose, Fancy-free & Fearful By Louise Applebome

    By Louise Applebome


    I’ve always had a bit of a rebellious streak.


    I seemed to innately, even at a very young age, want to buck the trends and reject convention. You could call it anti-establishment.


    Needless to say, it drove my parents to distraction and also made my father very angry, may they both Rest in Peace. If only I hadn’t been such a contrarian and if only they, as “the adults in the room,” could have allayed the dismay they felt and celebrated my “individuality” rather than fight it. 


    For instance, my mother was a beautiful woman and went to the beauty parlor weekly to have her hair and fingernails done. She applied makeup every day and had a propensity towards bright pink and orange lipstick colors which were in vogue in the 1950s, 1960s, and beyond. She wore stylish outfits. Some were even a bit flashy, like the hotpants with the low-cut vest adorned with Marabou feathers, and white go-go boots.  


    Being a bit more on the Tomboyish side, I didn’t appreciate her fashion statements and vowed to never let my style be dictated by “sex appeal” nor to ever wear lipstick or paint my nails. (Needless to say, I broke my vow as I entered adulthood and particularly the business world regarding make-up.) 


    I was militant in my opinions and not shy about expressing them. To say that that created some tension at home while I was growing up understates the struggles.  


    Honestly, that tendency toward the untraditional in me is deep and wide and persists to this day.    


    Fast forward to adulthood during which I have turned down several proposals to marriage by at least three different suitors, for better or for worse. The pressure to follow societal norms and conventions and to say “yes” never overrode lingering doubts I had about the men and the relationships. And I have no regrets about choosing not to accept their offers. And having just turned 70, I am still quite content as a single woman. Although it might seem counterintuitive, I actually appreciate my freedom and lack of encumberment. 

    No spouse.

    No children.

    No grandchildren.

    No pets. 


    I know that sounds like heresy to so many of my contemporaries.


    (Younger generations seem a bit more attuned to questioning the status quo.) 


    So from my perspective, there are many pluses to being single and “footloose and fancy-free.” 

    I’m not lonely.

    But we also know our lives are defined by opposites and paradoxes. 

    So as much as I embrace my independence and self-sufficiency, as the years march on I have more fear about venturing far afield on my own. 


    Almost ten years ago, I hardly thought twice about heading to a yoga retreat, solo, on the Greek island of Crete, renting a car, and tooling around before and after the weeklong program. Driving a car with a manual transmission along winding, hilly roads was a blast. No hesitation. 


    But I’ve lost that adventurous side of myself. I still love the idea, but I don’t have the drive or the confidence to embark on a far-away journey by myself.


    And although my health is good and I feel robust, there’s no denying I’ve changed. My attitudes have changed. Perhaps I have less audacity, less chutzpah. 


    I am still unabashed about opting to defy convention. I’m not fearful of how I will be perceived or what people might think or say. But I do know that I am more fearful about traveling or striking out on my own. 


    So as much as I say turning 70 is insignificant and just a number, it would be naive of me to deny that aging changes us. And I’m aware of how helpful it might be to have someone around to help shoulder the load of managing a household and managing a life. I anticipate that it may become even more challenging in the future. 


    Again, I’m blessed with darn good health. My steady yoga practice and teaching are such a boon to my well-being. I can still do backbends, forward bends, headstands (and other inversions) squats, standing poses, and a split. I have all my original joints and organs. I have never had a headache (other than from a hangover or two in my youth).  Walking with regularity and trying to eat well are pluses. I also have genetics in my favor…good DNA. Plus, I have minimal stress, having just myself to take care of. 


    But am I willing to take the same risks I once did? 

    Is my memory as sharp as it once was? 

    Is gallivanting around on my own as carefree as it used to be?

    Nope to all. I confess. 


    The choices I’ve made, in the name of independence, come with their own set of paradoxes, pluses, and minuses. 


    Designing a life is not always so easy or so obvious. But I predict, for as long as I’m around and in control (más o menos) of my faculties, I’ll enjoy life, its ebbs and flows, and make the most of the untraditional path I’m on, wherever it takes me and I take it. 


    There’s a centuries-old Zen koan that says it so well: 

    “Snowflakes never land in the wrong place…” 


    That encapsulates yoga, too. 


    Uniqueness and peculiarities are all celebrated in the yoga realm. So to balance out fear and hesitation I have the enormous comfort that an ongoing yoga practice brings. There is no status quo to fit into. There is only recognition of and appreciation for our respective idealized selves. No two are alike. No tradition or convention can tease out our natural attributes and traits. Each of us is endowed with our own “true self” or Buddha nature. And it is through devotion and discipline to yoga that we develop intimacy with that true self and know that somebody else’s quest to mold us or change us or define us is not supportive at all. 


    So as I age and change and may have more apprehension and/or anxiety, yoga offers the opposite. It offers a feeling of security and being loved. It will always be there to condone and reinforce my offbeat tendencies and to help me to feel safe and to feel joy and to embrace the never-ending road to cultivating my truest self. 




    Louise Applebome, 70, is a Certified Yoga Instructor in Dallas. After “retiring” from a vibrant and varied professional career, she became a yoga teacher. She teaches all her classes on Zoom right now and accepts students, young or older, from wherever they are, both geographically and in their pursuit of a yoga practice. Louise will help you stay fit and flexible, and release tension, aches & pains from the body…and the mind. Her yoga studio in Dallas is del norte yoga. You can reach out to her at [email protected].