I recently read a book that had been on my Amazon wishlist for some time. I stumbled across a copy at my parents’ house and asked my mom if I could borrow it, to which she replied yes, but in a tone that implied she wondered why I would want to. (In other words, she hadn’t liked the book that much.)

As I made my way into the book, I found myself really into it! I was invested in the characters and intrigued by the plot. It was unique and the characters seemed like people I might encounter in real life at some point. I talked to my mom on the phone and expressed that I was surprised she hadn’t enjoyed the book more.

But then I got to the end, and I understood. It wasn’t that it was bad. I can’t even pinpoint exactly what I didn’t love about the ending. But the book in sum total was not as enjoyable to me as the middle.

And I thought, what a metaphor for life.

I often find that I’m living in anticipation of the next thing. I’m planning for a trip, or wondering what my career might look like, or thinking about what’s for dinner next Tuesday. None of that is bad: I wouldn’t be who I am if I weren’t a planner, and Andy and I wouldn’t eat such good meals if I didn’t think about them in advance. But by letting myself be preoccupied with what’s coming, maybe I miss some of what’s happening. By constantly looking to the end, maybe I miss the enjoyment of the middle.

So I’m taking my experience with the book to heart. I can love the middle, and it doesn’t matter what the end looks like. If I get to the end and it’s not that great, it doesn’t cheapen my experience of joy in the middle.

Just live in the middle, and love it.

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman