I've been in the middle since the beginning. I am the middle child of five. Now I am 51 years old and in the middle of a century. I am straddling the middle of two generations. I am a Mid-Level health care practitioner. I grew up in the Midwest. I live in the middle of Colorado. I am often in the middle of a problem. And I am in the middle of my life. The Middle is a sit com and a song by Jimmy Eat World (I love both BTW). The center or middle is an interesting perspective - it is an all encompassing - seeing all the angles of an issue or position. I distinctly remember sitting in a church pew as a middle-schooler watching my older cousin Mary Ann get married thinking I am watching other people live out their lives getting married. For goodness sake do people really do that? she was like an older sister. Would that ever happen to me? A bystander on the road of life watching other people live at first- but also learning because being in the middle is coming. We are social creatures hopefully learning how to be, by watching others.
Jumping into the water from the shore takes a leap of faith. And life throws you in the middle of a pond when you least expect it. You have to swim and trust in what you’ve learned. Put into practice what you've seen from the shore. “It just takes some time, little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride. Everything, everything will be just fine, Everything, everything will be alright….just be yourself. It doesn’t matter if it’s good enough…” (Jimmy Eat World, The Middle).
Life is messy. We are in a world that doesn’t tolerate messy or hard. Growing up out of adolescence into an adult was scary for me. And I was fearful of everything. But in order for me to be adult in the world I had to put myself out there to make mistakes. I’ve made a fool of myself. I’ve landed on my face. Hopefully I’ve learned. Or we hide. I see it in this generation – Generation M (M is for media). So scared to get hurt Generation M hide in their parents’ basements watching life from a video game or TV. The opposite sex rejects them, the working world makes fun of them because they have no experience and it hurts. So they hide and watch the world from the sidelines. But I also see it in some of my family members. One was rejected in a relationship and therefore has poor social skills. He is like a broken record saying the same thing over and over in a conversation. He talks about himself and never asks about me and my life. The other one has a wife and kids but my elderly parents live in the same town and he doesn’t want to engage in their lives “I’m too busy”.
So I am in the middle. Handling things for people who don’t have the skills, knowledge, physical ability, emotional stability or trust in themselves to do it for themselves. I am making it easy for them. But it can’t last forever. I am getting tired. I need a lifejacket to swim out here but for my own survival now. In helping others by being in the middle I have not taken care of myself.
There is no right way to foster independence in others. I have read the psychology books, I have employed the techniques. But humans don’t fall into a niche of getting it together. We have to learn it on our own. We support from the shore, we can’t swim for them, they have to swim for themselves. We have faith that they make back to the shore.
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