The Threshold: Is it a place to hang out?


I had a plan
That was built on thinking too long

I have a friend who says I am “so French” because she has this idea that when I decide to do something – I just do it. I find this funny for several reasons. First, there is nothing remotely Frenchie about me at all, though I love her and her Frenchie-ness, and I guess I never really associated spontaneity with the French. Secondly, I feel like I linger a lot on the threshold. I have always felt like a contemplater. To a fault really. And also, as my BFF pointed out so eloquently this morning, my tendency towards rashness, though not necessarily absent, has yet to really work out – or at least work out according to how I intended it to work out. Therein lies the rub – plans and expectations are a real obstacle in effective negotiating with your threshold.

1. An entrance or a doorway.
2. The place or point of beginning; the outset.
3. The point that must be exceeded to begin producing a given effect or result or to elicit a response.

An entrance or doorway. Both implicitly pleasing to me, as anyone who has seen my Angkor Wat photos knows. There is something permanently optimistic about entrances and doorways.  Even in the game show context, like what is behind Door #1, Door #2 or Door #3…? There is something exciting about the potential a doorway offers.  So, you get to the threshold, and it is a good thing… then what?

Okay, so first we have the literal meaning… then we get: the place or point of beginning; the outset. One of my favorite signs ever in Hong Kong has got to be the one that greets me everyday I get on the ferry:


I love the implied meaning here much more than the actual one. To me the acknowledgment that we all will cross the threshold is a good start to the day. What you do after that is up to you.

Which brings me to the meaning of threshold that fully occupies my mental space. The point that must be exceeded to begin producing a given effect or result or to elicit a response. Must. MUST be exceeded in order to get results. This pretty much answers the question then. If you want to make something happen… if you want results… You have got to do it. Plans? Yeah, plans are great. I love them. They never work out, but they are fun, like buying a ridiculous outfit you know you will only wear once. The thrill is in the concept. The reality is sometimes, (in fact, more often than not these days I believe) you have just got to say, in the immortal words of Joel Goodsen’s Risky Business sidekick Miles – “What the fuck.” Why? Because:

“What the fuck” gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.

In the end it certainly makes me consider my life in a new way. I like the idea that once you step across the threshold, nothing is as it was before. Not in a closed door kind of way, just an altered state kind of way. That is freedom.

Choose your door.

So I stood at the station
With a plan and a pocket of poems
Heroically tragic
Bearded and blind with obsession
I’m a car without hope
Too close to the ditch to go far
I showed you my field
I said this is my field
But you weren’t impressed
You said why are we here
Your motives aren’t clear
This room with a view
And so much of you
Is far from here

Dedicated to Jill S., Michael V. and Norm the cat (who eventually does cross the threshold everyday)


About Amanda

I am repatriating expatriate trying to work it all out. Well, to work some of it out anyhow. I am writing here for sanity, focus and general over-sharing.
This entry was posted in Life, Perception, Philosophical Underpinnings, The Future and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Threshold: Is it a place to hang out?

  1. driss says:

    “There is something exciting about the potential a doorway offers.”

    i recently read a sappy Hallmark-esque comment in an article which said something to the effect of «love is the only thing which makes sleeping a letdown, because when a person is in love his or her reality is better than what comes about during dreams»

    it was attributed to an author whom i’d previously otherwise respected.

    anyhow, back to Morrison and those Doors-

    there’s got to be something worth more behind one than what we presently have. we’ve all had times when we’ve held on to something we possessed only to find it dwarfed in value by something we COULD have had, had we crossed a threshold we’d come to yet chose not to. It makes those doors sound REALLY nice, ya?

    still, i totally agree with you on the «just an altered state kind of way. That is freedom» idea, one hundred percent. there’s a marked difference between looking back at past decisions with regret and self-pity, and with looking back so as to see what lessons you can take from your own actions and how they ended up fitting in to the whole equation- knowing that a “do-over” is just NOT gonna happen. that knowledge is what allows us to have a hand in moulding our futures, right?


  2. tamara says:

    Love this Amanda…..I have never thought about that sign in such a way but I am sure I will never go back to seeing it as just a ferry sign ever again. It is truly a powerful message. I also love the What the fuck approach although when i was first convinced of its merit it was put more gently, “Take a leap of faith” was what my friend said when convincing me at the age of 28 to get on my first plane ever and fly 16 hours to Hong Kong! I found the lesson to embrace change and the mystery of it quite terrifying for a long time even though I was living a life full of hurt, confusion and unhappiness. Deep down I always knew that taking a leap of faith or proclaiming what the fuck was the only answer and yet it was still the last choice – freedom. I believe it is something we learn… fear I mean. How can we prevent society from teaching us as human beings this very restrictive pattern of thought?

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