Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Middle Game

I was standing a the local field last Saturday, watching a bunch of 7 year old girls play soccer on a beautiful, crisp fall morning. Finn was running wild along the edge of the forest surrounding the field, chasing a friend. I look at Greta - she is playing near her team's goal, and the action is at the other end of the field. She is spinning in place, arms spread wide, looking up at the sky. I hear Finn giggling behind me, "you can't catch me!" he squeals to his friend.

It is just a simple moment in time, but it strikes me. These are some good times, I think. Life can change in the blink of an eye, and it is so easy for me to forget to wallow in the ordinary.

It has been an unusual week. People from various stages in my life have been in touch, because they saw us on Oprah and tracked me down. People from high school, from a place I worked over 15 years ago, from the last job I had before having Greta. It's odd thinking about the version of me they knew, and it has me thinking about how things change, but also how they stay the same.

At each stage in my life, I thought things would always be the way they were then. It's human nature, I think, to believe this. At least it's my nature. The free wheeling days of high school, long lazy summers at the beach with friends, a first love. My roaring twenties, as I like to think of them, when life revolved around the weekend - parties, getting together with friends, moving from one adventure to the next. My early thirties, feeling like I was on top of the world, giving presentations to boards of directors, flying all over the globe wearing a business suit and carrying a laptop.

"We had so much fun then, didn't we?" said a friend from my first real job.

"You were so buttoned up and quiet!" said another from my last professional job.

"Those were some really good times," said an old flame from high school.

The other day a good friend of mine said, "we're in the middle game, now." My mind took a snapshot of life today: school aged kids, 40 years old, life full of carpools, soccer games, birthday parties and homework. Then I thought to myself: I've never liked the middle. Soaring highs and sinking lows? No problem - at least it keeps things interesting. For years there was always the Next Big Thing to look forward to: getting married, buying our first house, having a baby. It's a pattern with me; I'm always thinking what's next?

"We're living in tomorrow's yesterday," I heard someone say recently. It struck me, because that it what I do far too often - look back, or look ahead, instead of looking at right now. Somehow, it is easier for me to appreciate my life today when I think of myself as an elderly woman in a rocking chair flipping through a photo album full of pictures of me as I am today.

So I'm trying to embrace the middle game. If I get to play out these years, uneventfully but happily, I will be a lucky woman indeed. I'm trying to grasp moments that will pass too quickly: Finn climbing into my lap, cradling his blanket and settling in for a snuggle, Greta rolling in a pile of leaves, laughing, an affectionate glance from my husband over the dinner table.

All the beauty in life as it is right........Now.


  1. It is true. Things go too fast! Sometimes it is so hard to stay in the now, but for us to be happy it really is the only place to be!

  2. What you wrote is beautiful and oh so true! Thank you for sharing and reminding us to take the time...

  3. Thank you, I needed to get centered today.

  4. Thanks for your thoughts today. I dread, but know full well, that I will be one of those people on my death bed looking back and wishing I would have lived "just for today". I am always looking around the next corner, to the next day, month, year. I think I'll shut the computer down now and go play in the leaves. :)

  5. That is so awesome! I'm realizing some of these things now at age 35, although my life situation is just a little different from almost ALL other 35-year-olds (I guess you could say that adds to my very uniqueness). Being a flight attendant makes me realize how precious time really is, as it slips through my fingers with every flight I work, month by month.

  6. Oh, you made me tear up. I so miss the weight of a child on my lap. My FIL says that when they are young they weigh on your lap, when they are older they weigh on your heart.

    I can totally relate to living in tomorrow. It was what got me through my childhood - always looking ahead because the present was too painful to be in. Sometimes I do a simple exercise where I purposefully uncross my legs and plant them on the floor to remind myself to be in the moment. Some days it is like pulling teeth to do that. Others it is much easier.


  7. I am so like that also. I remember things in the past being much rosier than they actually were. And I have always looked forward to being an old lady (even when I was a young girl). And I do picture where I am now to stretch out forever. But it's true, all I have to do is look back to what seems like yesterday when my daughter was a baby (8 years ago) to remind me to enjoy the moment!

  8. I love reading your blog - there are so many things in it each time that I can identify with and apply to my own life - I too am a recovering alcholic, and the "middle game", now, is the best and yet most overlooked and rushed through time. Recovery becomes so much easier when I stop, breathe, and enjoy each moment, having faith that as long as I am a responsible adult the rest will sort itself out just fine...:)

  9. Karen - thanks for your nice comment, I appreciate it.

    And I just followed the link to your Artfire store - WOW! Your jewelry is spectacular!! You are very, very talented. I've been meaning to check out Artfire - I sell primarily over Etsy, as you can see - but I hear wonderful things about it.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!