Nobody’s favorite part of the movie is ever the middle, because the middle is something you sit through begrudgingly for the big payoff – the final battle, true love’s kiss. The middle is when you slip out to pee, answer your mother’s nagging call and grab another popcorn because ‘Merica. The middle is dull. The middle is blah. The middle is perfectly passable.
If the film of my life, I’m entering the middle: almost through with college, no wedding on the calendar, no buns in the oven, no dream job to run to and no future in some trendy metropolitan. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing. But where is the life ABC Family amd romcoms promised me? You know, hip young twenty-something in a refurbished loft with a glamorous job, decked in high-end fashion (at a discount, of course). I have no refurbished loft, I work at a museum and I shop at Target.
If my life were recorded on VHS, I could simply fastfoward through the days of penny-pinching, indecision and slurping Ramen noodles in the car. I could trade all the confusion for premium cable, real leather and a solid sense of self. I could even leave behind past failures, as unsalvagable as my Craigslist furniture. Best of all, I could shed adolescence without a single growing pain and cut straight to the happily-ever-after dance sequence.
But I wouldn’t.
What good is a glass slipper if Cinderella never even danced with the prince? Who would have cared if Frodo finally returned the ring were it not for 10 grueling hours of butt cramps? So what if Clark Griswold makes it to Wally World or if Harry Potter defeats the one who must not be named? Would it even matter that Romeo and Juliette died if they had never (way too quickly) fallen in love to begin with? Without the middle, does the story even matter?
The middle is either everything or nothing to you – and that makes all the difference.
Every mundane moment of every regular day will someday be your greatest treasure. You’ll look back and tell your grandchildren (or seven sweater-wearing cats) about life as a broke college kid, shopping at Target and working at some museum while living in a second-rate apartment with no overhead lights. Now, I don’t know what you’ve got planned for 2014, but I know what I’ll be doing. I will be cherishing today, tomorrow and every single ordinary day in this short but wonderful life.
Because someday, I know I’ll give anything to be stuck in the middle again.