I am great at starting things. Fights, businesses, giggle fits in my boys. I am also skilled at endings. I can sell houses, close LLCs, pack boxes and move away. It is the middle that is tricky. Life is mostly middles. Here are just a few:
- Household maintenance, with its endless cycles of dishes and laundry.
- All the days between the goal setting of New Year’s day and the celebration of New Year’s eve.
- The stages of a project between conception to conclusion.
- The calorie counting and food logging of the diet after you have decided to lose weight and before you fit into the jeans at the bottom of your drawer.
- The forehand and backhand drills of tennis lessons, post the thrill of selecting a new racket and pre playing a single game.
- All of the errands, squabbles, and bad TV between your first date and your wedding day.
Like everything, getting good at middles takes practice. Which of course is the middle itself. This might be a bit muddled but there are a few things I am sure help with turning the grind into something for which I am grateful:
- Staying in the now rather than remembering or projecting.
- Noticing rather than judging.
- Accepting set backs as part of improvement.
- Slowing down.
- Letting go of the idea that each activity, conversation, and creative output needs to be everything to everyone.
In addition to yoga, meditation, and avoiding the rabbit hole of my sons’ mood swings I have a new area to practice practicing. I am writing thirty posts in forty five days for The Good Men Project. That is a lot of words to put on the screen. Particularly when I know they will be public. I am trying to focus on the writing process rather than the product of the post. Which I imagine will happen primarily between post 2 and 29. The middle of the process, which I recognize is where the real work of real life lives.
Do you have any ideas about how to prioritize process over product? What are you practicing these days?