Heart Bypass: Living and Loving on the Highway

Heart Bypass: Living and Loving on the Highway

If you live in Atlanta, you know I-285. Those traveling the north/south or east/west interstates call it the bypass but really it’s a loop that circles the heart of the city.

Locals refer to I-285 as The Perimeter. When asking directions around here, one usually starts with “Are you inside or outside the perimeter?” For insiders, driving too far outside the perimeter is akin to an “out of state” road trip. For outsiders, driving too far inside the perimeter requires a course in street life savvy, the kind that keeps you from turning down the wrong street in a Walking Dead episode. “NOoooo… don’t go THERE! Zombies ahead!” (Hey, it’s not my fault. A friend got me hooked.)

These days, life outside the perimeter mimics conveniences of city life. And for some who choose to settle outside, it’s “close enough” to live on a perimeter that bypasses hardcore city commitments with softcore city-like amenities.

Time was, a reasonably clear inside/outside demarcation could be made but now the inner feels a lot like the outer while navigating this Nascar-esque bypass. In the speedway blur, you think you are in the city proper. Looks like it. Feels like it. Sounds like it. Smells like it. But not it.

Now, lets switch gears. (Hey, I’m working a metaphor here.)

Think about the heart. Your heart. Where it resides. And who resides in it.

Like Atlanta, your heart is the city. The closer to the center the stronger the pulse as blood pumps (emotions, passions, dreams, fears) through the arteries and side streets with all the pedestrian conveniences. Culture. People. Parks. Coffee shops. Nightlife. But also challenges like traffic jams, convention re-routes, and one way do not enter streets. Get the picture?

This is you. You living and loving in the heart of your city.

Enter new relationship. (Or awaken in an old one.)

Maybe you meet this person on the loop and do the bypass-dating thing for a while. After all, it’s close and has enough of the amenities you need to make the trip worth it. Both hearts are protected while enjoying this exploration of the almost-city. You like the neighborhood, so you rev up your motor a bit and turn into the beyond casual dating zone. Day and night traffic blurs the perimeter lines as you drive deeper into their city – while they remain on the loopy bypass.

Do you notice that they are riding the perimeter or choosing the bypass? If you do notice, do you:

a. Give them time.
b. Hand them a map or upgrade their GPS.
c. Decide close enough is enough.
d. Figure you can work with it and/or change them.
e. Acquiesce to this one being better than the last one.
f. Evacuate.
g. All of the above.
h. None of the above.

What do you do if you find you are the only one in the city, the only one in your heart?

Or are you? Cities have a lot of vacant buildings – urban flight and all that. Did you fall through the cracks of a heart broken by past city dwellers or squatters? Did you take flight and not notice? Are you waiting for someone else to give you permission to move back into the city? Reclaim your heart? Did you get caught on the good enough is close enough loop and is that how they got away with looping the bypass? (Add “for so long” if you are in an old relationship.)

Lots of questions, I know. But finding the answers offers a pedestrian view that allows you to occupy – not bypass – your own heart while deciding if you will continue the drive into theirs. If you don’t embrace your city life, with all its traffic jams and conventioneers looking for a good time, who will? And if you are not present to your own heart chances are you’ll dismiss theirs – or miss the exit/entrance ramps that will get you where you really want to go and ultimately reside.

I know this because I am well traveled – loops and all. No judgments here, folks. Just some street savvy and a patched up heart in a city with as many streets called Forgiveness as Atlanta has called Peachtree.

Pssst: This heart bypass metaphor can be applied to other relationships you have … like why a job is or is not working for you or where your creativity is or is not hanging out. There are no limits where the heart is concerned!

So, tell me what routes you’ve been taking these days!


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14 thoughts on “Heart Bypass: Living and Loving on the Highway

  • June 29, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Great piece Bernadette. I really like how you use the Highway and Bypass metaphors… you know. I’ve been going on a loop for years but recently I’ve discovered my own city life, loved it for all it’s got and so much more. Instead of bypassing it, I’ve been embracing it full force. Will continue to do so and I won’t be missing any turn off along the way I promise you that! 🙂

    • June 29, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Thanks, Paula! After reading your post, I feel like we have been hanging out together at the corner coffee cafe in a very similar neighborhood. No coincidences that our paths crossed! Thanks for stopping by. Here’s to our embracing ‘city life.’ 😉

  • June 29, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Great post!!

  • June 29, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Certainly one of your best pieces yet! Everyone needs to take some time and read this thoroughly… carefully… and I’m sure you will find something in it for you and your experiences… either past or present… One thing to add… sometimes those congested by-passes are difficult… full of twists and turns… but so can be… a long lonely highway. You make the best of the ride and turn up the radio!!!! (loved this Blog)

    • June 29, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      Points on the map well taken, Joseph! I find Jason Mraz a good musical companion when on the long lonely highway. 🙂

  • June 29, 2014 at 10:08 pm


    This is exactly why I ride my bike INSIDE the city limits. This is why I rarely drive a car. This is why I live INSIDE the perimeter! 🙂

    I highly recommend keeping both hands on the wheel, don’t text and drive, don’t drink and drive and take scenic backroads.

    Very lovely metaphor and I really enjoyed the read! I’ve been on the loop and actually drove around the perimeter looping for a loooong time! 🙂

    • June 30, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      Love this, Juliette! You have more than a few great metaphors going here yourself, dear. (Am adding bike to my list … and you already know I don’t text, EVER.) 😉 Here’s to our continuing to share INSIDE of the perimeter! Wouldn’t want to bypass our journey for anything!

  • June 30, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Excellent writing Hun! Love the perspective you’ve taken with it! Good to ponder upon. 🙂

    • June 30, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and saying HI, Karla! And don’t ponder too hard, hon … just avoid the loopy loop! It has some pretty well cut ruts. 😉

  • August 2, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Good Morning! Just had a wonderful time visiting your Facebook and blog.
    Just wanted to Thank You for a wonderful morning. Enjoyed ?????????

    • August 6, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      Thanks Holly! Glad you visited and that it made your morning! 🙂

  • November 14, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    I had an awesome time cherishabilitating and intimatsizing the inner and outer circles of the I 285.
    You are speaking my language. xo

    • November 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Have missed you, Honey! And yes, we share “speak” and hearts, for sure. Come back and drop me a private message. Let me know what you are up to and where! XO

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