I’m a redhead again. My year of hair repentance is over. (Some of you may remember the great blonde fiasco of 2011). There is much rejoicing in my house as I got the green light to cut my hair and go back to my truest self. I cannot tell you how much I missed my hair. Learning patience is not an easy journey.
Raised an only child by a single mother who worked two jobs when she needed in order to make ends meet, I had to learn how to wait for things.
Today I live in a world where I no longer have to worry about what I’m going to eat, if I’m going to eat, and where I get to live. Lulled by a false sense of security, I’ve forgotten how to wait.
I am safe.
I am in many ways, the exception rather than the rule.
I am impatient and a perfectionist.
In this season of my life, I catch myself wanting it now instead of later and get impatient with the journey.
I still wait for the day when I can finally say “I’ve arrived.” only I read in Fully Alive that arriving is death. Once I arrive it means I’m out of things to learn and mountains to climb. Arriving means I get to relax. I’m ADD, if I relax I’ll get bored. When I get bored, I forget who I am and make stupid choices.
It’s the valleys of life that teach me compassion and it’s the mountains I conquer that teach me bravery. Without those two crucial things in my life, my spirit withers. I lose touch with who I am created to be and I lose touch with others.
I want to race through the valley, and be on the mountain top already. I forget that the journey is the life. Whether I’m in a valley, climbing a hill on my bike, or standing on top of the mountain, I’m breathing. I’m alive.
I used to dream of the day when I would no longer be neurotic until I realized it’s that place of living in the raw, stuck between the shitty first draft (As Anne Lamott would call it) and the clean up that gives breadth, depth and meaning to all of my relationships and experiences. It’s here in the middle where the oxygen is most abundant and I am at my most truest self. It is here where I am free.
Living in the middle means I get to be bad at something until I become good at it.
Living in the middle means I get to feel pain, know hunger, and suffering on occasion and learn that this too shall pass.
Living in the middle lets my eyes scan the horizon for the next goal, and the next opportunity to push myself beyond my perceived limitations and experience the joy of real accomplishment.
Jeff and I took a new path while riding bikes yesterday. This one has more hills than flat lands and I wasn’t prepared. I wound up walking the first hill and dug down into myself for the rest. I decided that I could stop and catch my breath if needed but I was not coming off my bike again no matter what. I knew that hill was waiting for me on the return trip. I knew I was going to have to dig in if I wanted to climb it.
I watched my pace and kept close to his. I shifted gears, pushed through the pain and refused to stop. I made it to where he was waiting and then…
…………………………………………………………………I threw up.
I am living in the middle of the consequences of throwing a temper tantrum and gaining 50 pounds hoping to assure that I’d never get hit on again. I’m living in the middle of learning boundaries, facing fears and finding myself. Sometimes living in the middle means doing the right thing even if it means I have to throw up afterwards. (Fellow scardy cats will understand that one)
Living in the middle is messy. It means I don’t get to have all the answers. It means I get to make mistakes and be imperfect. It means I get to try again until I get it right.
I don’t know what middle you are living in right now. Maybe it’s the middle of a storm, the middle age of life, the middle of a climb or the middle of a descent and you keep waiting for the day when you can finally say “I’ve arrived.”
Don’t settle for arriving. Don’t waste time wishing you were there, when you could be living in the here and in the now.
Strive to live.
Throw up if you have to.
Believe in yourself.