My son has determined that seventh grade is the worst. And inside all his thirteen years of wisdom and research on the topic, I can’t say that I blame him for his conclusion. In the middle of Middle School half the kids are still prepubescent, giggling at fart jokes while the other half are trying to keep up with complex hormonal intrusions. Action figures are as likely to end up inside a locker as a vape pen (or worse). And pecking orders are established and reestablished before lunch. It can be a bear of an existence for which no amount of bubble wrap can keep him (or me) from breaking from time to time.
But he continues to muscle through. His wisdom intact. Him telling me it’s just a funny time of transition. And I wonder why I want it all to speed up or slow down or just go away. Any alternative to sitting in, well, the middle of it.
Which got me to thinking about all of my “middles”.
Last Sunday, for instance, I went to the nail salon for the first time in ages. An intentional nod to my colorful femininity that had been gray washed and dormant for the past few years of Covid containment. It felt fun and frilly. Bright red fingertips and toes flashing about as I extended extra care to fasten my seatbelt and put the car in gear, lest I mess up the new paint job. A nod to spring and general renewal. Tender.
Two hours later I jammed my fresh pedicure into hiking boots. Donning a black slicker covering shoulders to shins trying to hit the forecasted window between pounding rain showers but, alas, still soaked through by the end of the two-mile woods loop. Self-praising my grit. Wiping the mud splatter from my cheeks. Warrior.
And there I was in the middle of the two wondering which is more “me”.
If I am being honest, I don’t really know. And it bugs me to a certain extent. I have long admired those who seem to have it figured out. The clarity around what defines them the most. No apologies. My inconsistent experiments to do the same seem to flame out and I eventually wander back to my center point of somewhere between that and this.
But maybe that’s the point. I like the middle. It makes me nimble. It emboldens my curiosity. It creates a lot of interesting friendships. I’m a voracious learner always taking something away from everything. I’m willing to join any human experience and see it from all its angles and for all its pieces. I make game time decisions based on new circumstances. I feel versatile, patient, connecting, kind, willing, curious. And I like these descriptors. They suit me. And, actually, offer clarity. Perhaps arrival at some certain end is just conjecture anyway. Aren’t we all always coming from somewhere and going towards something? Isn’t that the core of our human experience?
Maybe I have it more figured out than I thought.
So for any of you who also like the middle—modern and traditional, masonry and wood, stone slab and tile. A quiet hideaway for an empty nest and a home to host returning families. A quiet study and a music studio—perhaps you are also right where you belong. Perhaps the middle is the deepest destination and the journey.
We stand at the ready. To say yes to each of your pieces so we can craft them together into a beautiful whole. Isn’t that what custom building is meant to be in its purest form? We’ve got you.
(By the way, I’d rather be middle aged than back in Middle School. Of that I am certain.)
All my best, always,