If I could say one thing about beginnings to my teenage self, it’d be this: they’re easy.
Oh, yeah, sure, they’re scary, too. But there’s a hazy spot where “scary” and “exciting” blur until you can’t really tell so much where one ends and the other starts. And I know that it feels, when you’re a teen, as though you’re constantly dealing with new beginnings: new schools, new relationships, never-before-seen hardships…But trust me. Beginnings are easy.
It’s the middles that’re rough.
If you don’t want to take my word for it, ask a college junior who is bone-tired and broke (probably up to their eyebrows in debt, too), and who has worked themselves to the nubs only to find out that their inevitable change of major has put them a semester (or a year) behind schedule.
Or, ask the couple who have already been married twenty years, have learned virtually everything about their partners, and are only fifty years old (yeah, teen-me, I just said “only fifty”).
Ask a novelist who has hit the convoluted middle of her first draft.
Middles are rough. Compared to the beginnings that came before, they’re dull. We aren’t talking about the thrill of moving to a new place. We aren’t talking about the whirlwind of falling in love. We’re talking about facing days that look pretty much like the days that came before. The ah-ha! moment is in the rearview.
But the thing is, you don’t get a glorious ending if you don’t ever slog through the middle. You will never get to the sale of a book if you don’t push through that time period, years after the, “I’m going to be a writer!” announcement, when rejections are filling up your inbox.
The middles—the times that require you to dig deep and get to work—are what make you who you are.
And, in those middle sections, you will also be greeted with quiet moments of beauty and sweetness, too. You just have to learn where to look.
I, for one, even take great pleasure in catching sight of my sweet boy sleeping by the door…
Like I said, you’ve just got to know where to look…