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Shoot for the middle


You know that excited, happy feeling when something’s new – new car, new love, new job, new home – it could be anything. A new book. Or pet, or a place to shop or dine. It’s just full of potential. Full of possibilities. It’s absorbing and exciting. All your attention focuses on this object of newness in your life. You want to get it right. It feels good. You want it to last – in fact, you can’t imagine that it won’t last forever. It just feels like the right connection, and you never want it to end.


Thank goodness, it does. It fades away. It wanes. This is a good thing. Trust me. Consider the alternative: What if that intensity of newness and excitement and near-obsession didn’t subside? What if it didn’t fade? It would be exhausting. No one can live long at that level.  


Does this mean we can’t have nice things? Should we just give up and resign to a life of nothing new? Of course not – and that’s the wrong question to ask, anyway. I would pose it this way: How do we move from excitement to nourishment without worrying about abandonment? The answer is to embrace the middle.


Honestly, the middle way is where we live most of the time. The key to happiness is appreciating the value and the blessing of the middle.


Life is a seesaw between highs and lows. We all have them. When we do, they are big! Big feelings that leave room for little else. But we can’t or maybe we don’t want to stay in either of those two conditions for long. We need the middle to live. We need the ordinary days to pay the bills or mow the lawn or clean out the fridge. Mostly, life is the ordinary stuff. By definition, life in the middle, ordinary life, day-in and day-out life is not too exciting.


But consider this: if that’s most of your life, what would change if you recognized that and embraced it? What if you let go of the allure of ecstasy, let go of the seduction of moroseness, and settled gratefully into the satisfaction of middle?  Honor yourself where you are, wherever that may be at this moment and then, imagine the feeling of accomplishment as you balance happily in the middle.

 


1/22/2024

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