Monday, November 10, 2014

That Middle

“Everything is fine in the end. If it is not fine, it is not the end.”

I came across this phrase over a decade ago and it has since then stuck with me. I am impressed with both, the idea and the optimism, in this phrase. The possibility of eternity in the hope for that perfect ending is quite wistful. On face value, it seems like the mental place to be, the thought to hold on to, the wish to wish for.

It is only recently that I have started to look beyond the face value of this favorite quote of mine. The more I think about it, the more I realize the futility of overly sticking to it. The underlying mentality revealed in this simple expression highlights a certain affinity to the destination. To the goal. I do think that this affinity is much needed for our effective existence in this corporal world. But I have also noticed how I tend overlook the essence of the tiny little moments while I am on my way, very focused toward that destination.

We meticulously plan our first impression so that it is as perfect as it is memorable. We careful strategize our perfect ending so it is as perfect as it will be happy. The beginning and the end tend to be so important that “the middle” is all about “how to get there” as opposed to just “being in the middle.” I know middle doesn’t sound half as fancy as the beginning or the end. But the fact is that we spend most of our time in the middle. So treating middle as a means to an end, as opposed to a whole entity in and of itself, is a tad bit unfair.

I have a strong feeling that I, for one, will be much happier if I didn’t worry as much about the perfect beginning or the perfect ending, and instead focused on the middle. I didn’t use the word “perfect” to describe “middle” because it isn’t about the middle being perfect. It is about us being present while in the middle of something. It could be perfect. It could be imperfect. It could be terrible for all we know. But it is about being there. In the middle.

Talking about middle may seem rather pointless. But given the amount of time we spend in the middle, it doesn’t only make philosophical and emotional sense, but also logical and mathematical sense. It is directly proportional to the amount of time we spend in a specific phase. Being present in the middle will optimize our satisfaction and happiness curve just because we decide to be a little bit more present in the middle. Kind of cool, it is.

I am writing about it just today, but I have been thinking about this slightly obscure concept for the last several months now. I have pondered over my need to start things well and my obsession for the destination, but have somewhat struggled with understanding what “being present in the middle” even means for me. I feel like figuring this out would be like cracking the code of life for me. My hypothesis is that there is an objective definition for “being present in the middle” that means the same things for anyone and everyone. Even if it is applied to very different situations. For my situation, it could mean certain specific things.

Like -

Enjoying the process of cooking as much as I enjoy eating.

Enjoying the process of quilting as much as I enjoy the warmth of the quilt.

Enjoying the process of putting kids to sleep as I enjoy falling asleep myself afterward. This one is a little hard, especially when I am drop dead tired. But there is something to be said about enjoying the mischief and cuteness that emerges from Samaira and Rehan as we get closer to bed times.

Enjoying a workout as much as I feel relieved when it is done.

Enjoying a drive as much as I enjoy getting to my destination.

So this is what it may mean for me. I think. I am still figuring it out. Don’t have it nailed yet. It might take a while before I nail it. But in the meantime, I am going to enjoy the process of getting there. Enjoying its imperfections, its frustrations, its joys, its achievements, its sadness, the whole jabang. That Middle. I am going to get you some day.

...A part of my middle...that was easy :)

My Positivity
This week had way too many. But I will stick to two.

I made my first quilt.

I took my first photography class. Friends, Family - you have been warned. I might bug you forever and ever.


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