Mid-life crisis. Midsection. Middle Child. Middle-of-the-way. Middle class.
The Mid. The Middle.
I am a starter. Before I am a starter, I am a dreamer. I love to dream up big ideas, put them on paper, make them even bigger, and plan up an execution strategy to make them reality. When I step off towards this new thing, it is new. It is exciting. It is fresh like a new pair of jeans, a gourmet dinner just out of the oven, a new haircut. We take this excitement forward into our whole lives, it makes us smile more, laugh louder, live bigger, and embody ourselves.
Starting is everywhere, everyday. I love to workout. I love the gym, personally. I need the competition staring at me in the form of the glaring, angry red numbers on the treadmill screen – telling me that I’m still a mile short of my goal, that I need to run faster, harder, and longer. When I step into the gym, I am excited. Excited to begin. When I sit down to edit a session, I am excited to begin. When I start cleaning my house, I am excited to begin. We get new jobs, find new loves, move to new places, and make new friends. We have new children, get new dogs, and buy new cars. We begin, and begin, and begin…and it is thrilling.
Then we reach the middle.
I love starting my workout. About 30 minutes in…I do not love my workout. It hurts, I’m all red-faced and not even remotely cute, I’ve fully realized exactly how much that latte weighs on my hips, and I do not love it. I continue, not because I’m so committed…but because if I do not continue, I will not change. I will not get better. If I fail to remain committed, I will not evolve. I will continue to ride the same carousel, around and around, back to the exact same spot of beginning…never moving forward. I see all of my middles this way.
When we begin something, we make it a priority in our life. The new job, the new love, the new puppy, even the new car. We love it, we keep it clean and tidy, we buy it accessories and take it out to dinner. As time passes, the job gets tiresome. The colleagues that once inspired us are no longer fresh faces, but old familiar ones. The new love leaves their socks on in bed, has stopped going to the gym and would rather go to bed than make love. The puppy is grown and needs to be walked everyday so her now 90lb frame stays fit. The car needs it’s 100k mile service, there’s a tear in the seat where the puppy dug her nails in and a coffee stain where you spilled your latte on the way to your not-so-new-anymore office. This is the middle.
It is important. For without it, we do not move forward. The middle is not about settling in, or settling down. It is about commitment. To ourselves. Our loves, our lives, and our futures. It is about being present, for we are all in the middle of SOMETHING. Breathe it in. Experience what it is to be alive, in your own incredible life. For each life is incredible, regardless of it’s location, social status, or monetary value. Each life is precious, and what a gift we have been given to have the free will to live it as we choose. Because it is all a choice friends. It is ALL a choice.
The middle is so important, and so very difficult. The work is the hardest in the middle, but it is also the most rewarding. To move forward and stay the course in the middle requires us to pull from somewhere deeper, somewhere more dedicated. We pool our strengths and push on when it is no longer glittery. Sometimes even when it hurts. We have the ability though, to recreate that feeling of beginning, that euphoric sense of newness in our middle; if we will only let ourselves believe that what we are doing is right. What we are doing IS our CHOICE, not our obligation. When we believe in our choices, we make them a priority again. We can relight our fires, find the beauty in what is familiar, and the fresh perspective, even in the known.
The middle is difficult. The middle is important. The middle is now.
Stay the course friends. A favorite line from a favorite movie says, “So now, all alone or not, you gotta walk ahead. Thing to remember is, if we’re all alone, we’re all together in that too.”
Some images from people I have been lucky enough to work with, and inspired by their commitments in life.