I’m in this in-between place right now. The “interstices” it’s been called. The space between one thing and the next thing, and everything that comes with it.
This is true of almost every aspect of my life. My marriage ended this year. Two of my three children flew the coop—tip-toeing into the land of grown-ups. My work as a freelancer is solidifying into a steady gig where I have become the ancillary communications tool for several companies and individuals.
And then there’s my creative pursuits. I’m in between serviceable draft and final product with Unkiss Me, and about to launch more deeply into the next big project—the stuttering insert-break-ridden document I’ve been calling Under Ground.
So I’m in this gap between thing one and thing two, and I am hyper-aware that the pretty, pretty sparkly stuff that shines while I’m here, and the choices I make in response to those shiny baubles, will be the ingredients that determine the next direction I take. The reason this is daunting is that I have some experience with interstices, and from them, historically, I’ve leapt into all sorts of fascinating, yet ultimately self-destructive adventures.
Oh what fun to be twenty-five and impetuous and impulsive! But wander over the border into 40-and-beyond and mad-cap, what-the-fuck whims play out like boils. They get harder and harder to hide, and take chunks, big fat shark-bite chunks from your self-esteem. Or not even your self-esteem. Self-esteem is what youngsters have. Middle aged people have dignity. And life conspires to make dignity look like Swiss cheese as you age.
Or maybe that’s my ossifying personality talking. Dunno. But I do know this. What doesn’t diminish as we age is yearning. What we have always wanted may wear different clothes. It may whisper instead of scream, but it propels us, continually. We crane our necks for it, we hold our breaths for it, we get better at pretending it all doesn’t matter in the end, but it does matter. And if we aren’t willing to shed a little dignity in service to yearning, I suppose we don’t deserve whatever it is we require.
So where does that leave me, here in the gap? How do I measure the distance between self-destruction and bravery? Measure twice, cut once? I’ll try that.