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In-Between

Something doesn’t feel quite right these days. I’m in-between, hanging in the wind, waiting for the next set of closed doors to open, for what lies behind those doors to emerge. The earth moved from winter through solstice into spring, yet temperatures still dip. Which jacket and shoes to wear? How many blankets are needed at night? We just sprang the clock ahead, but I haven’t yet adjusted and my sleep is off. A big birthday lies ahead and I want to get into celebratory mode, but I still dwell in this decade, which was capped off by a trying and tumultuous year. Least exciting of all, I’m in that liminal phase dubbed perimenopause by Western medicine.

In the world around me, thankfully, our government has new leadership—though policies from the prior administration remain in place and the effects of newer, more compassionate laws have not fully materialized. A good deal of the populace has been vaccinated against COVID-19—yet variants abound and outbreaks arise. Some of my friends and family have been vaccinated—but others are still waiting, hoping, searching. COVID-19 rules and recommendations remain nuanced, varying with each social situation.

When I was a child and young adult, my need for security was so great that I did what I could to avoid in-between states. I was expert at planning and structuring my time; these needs seemed imprinted in my DNA. Ultimately, though, practice at managing insecurity, fatigue from constant planning, and being thrust into situations where predicting the trajectory was impossible helped me learn to roll with the punches rather than be knocked down and out. Still, unsettled moments make my bones ache and trigger visceral vulnerability. I drift like the minute grains of sand pushed by a cresting, then receding wave, as I strive to remember that grasping at moments as they float away is counterproductive.

How I yearn for the next set of doors to open so that this uncomfortable dangling will end. Alas, no magical crystal ball exists. Attempts at clairvoyance fail me; I know intellectually what I must do. We all are well versed in the clichés, which are steeped in truth: be in the moment, blah, blah, blah.  And so I watch and I wait. Then adapt. And, finally, do the best I can.

Pam Adelstein
Newton Center, Massachusetts