I feel like I’m caught in the middle of a variety of places in my life. I’m not complaining as I know that things could be much worse. Rather it’s just something that’s come to mind as it seems to be a more prominent piece of my life now.
I don’t think I’m unique in this feeling. I think many of us find ourselves in some sort of middle ground for a variety of reasons that we didn’t always intend or want to be in so I thought it was worth exploring what it means, how it feels, and if there’s some opportunities that lie within it.
Here’s a few examples of when I feel caught in the midst of conflicting states:
I am sick, sicker than the average person, but not as sick as many.
I still have so much I want to do with my career but my body says no!
I still crave to work out, my forbidden fruit; will that craving ever subside?
I miss my friends dearly but I’ve been forced to give up seeing almost all of them.
I don’t want to hide my illness but in certain cases, with certain people, I do.
I’ve always been the caregiver, not the receiver; this role reversal is a big change.
I want to say yes, to be that same go-to person I always was, but no is now my new mantra.
How do we find acceptance with all the changes that come with life – and more so, life with a chronic illness? How do we adjust to them? Does the grieving ever go away? Does saying no get easier? Can we find new ways to thrive?
I don’t have the answers to any of these questions. Or maybe I have a few for some of my own questions – the lawyer in me at least wants to give my standard answer, “it depends.”
I used to be a person that wasn’t comfortable until I had all the answers to questions like this. Once I had concrete answers I could move on; I could not only find a way to succeed but I could thrive. But now the answers are scarce, elusive, and often unknown. If they are there, I have to work hard for them.
Time is a beautiful thing though. Time has taught me that not knowing the answers is definitely okay. To be honest, I really never did know as much as I thought I did. Perhaps I had some answers or guesses at the answer, but if randomly getting so sick has taught me one thing, it’s that you never truly know what life has in store for you. Or what one moment will be like to the next.
While unpredictability and uncertainly can create uneasiness at times, a lot of what I don’t have the answers to I may never have had them or will have them. So, I can worry, fret, and be stopped by that or I can just be okay with it and find a way.
For example, some things time has taught me is that grieving for our losses does get a bit easier with time. While it doesn’t go away, it tends to ebb and flow at an easier pace. I’ve also realized that at this point it’s safe to say that my love of working out is rooted deep within my core. Having realized this, I’ve found viable alternatives to satisfy that craving, such as gentle yoga. I’ve also learned that perhaps I should have been choosing where I spend my time wiser all along. A few more no’s in my past might have been a good thing. While I don’t like how often I have to decline invites now, when I can say yes, it’s a YES!!
In life we will always find ourselves in the middle of situations, challenges and opportunities. The key may simply be to see them as temporary pit-stops. There’s a lot of room in that middle ground area where we can carve out a spot for ourselves that satisfies our needs. And sometimes we may find that being in the middle teaches us something we wish we would have known in the first place.
While being in “limbo” was not something I could have readily accepted at one point in my life, the unpredictability of living with a chronic illness has not only taught me to accept it, but to see it as an area that some opportunities and even better life decisions may lie.