Life in the Middle


I used to like bold changes, often punctuated with pronoucements, “Starting today I will…” Quit smoking. Stop overeating. Start meditating. And I would put all of my effort into making those things happen for a week, a day, an hour. Relapse, failure, new resolve. Repeating that cycle of enthusiasm and discouragement was exhausting.

Now I make changes quietly, with little fanfare. Maybe I’ll eat one healthy meal rather than give up sugar forever. And I no longer track my progress because deep down I know I only make the changes I am truly ready to make.

Lately, the changes in my life are not ones solely of my own making. Instead, it seems like the ground shifted beneath me and I have discovered myself in a new place. I now realize I am in a subtle transition and I have no idea how or started, how it will turn out, or even where I am right now. I think of myself in the middle place. Strangely, I have little anxiety about the uncertainty in my life right now. That’s probably because I have things to anchor me in everyday life: an uncomplicated job, contact with family, and interests I enjoy.

It’s hard to be concrete about my time of transition- it cannot be easily labeled. It’s not moving, new relationship, medical crisis, or those things that galvanize people to new ways of being. Instead, it’s been a subtle shift in my values and priorities. And as a result, I have redirected my energy. A barely perceptible, but significant choice. I grew tired of trying so hard to please people and to sustain relationships. So, I decided to let go of the kite string and see what happened.

Like magic those relationships in my life I had been fighting so hard for vanished. Evaporated so easily.  The simplest act of allowing someone the chance to call me first reorganized my social life. I was freed from the burden of trying too hard. And then I had this wide open space to make new connections. And it was then I began to befriend myself.

The middle place for me is inchoate, but not at all threatening. I visualize it as existing in a puffy cumulus cloud.

So I ask you, do you or have you existed in middle places? Where you have no idea where you are, but it doesn’t seem to be a bad place to be.


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