You don't know what the story is about when you're in the middle of it. You think you do, but you don't. You make up all kinds of possible story lines: this is about growing up. Or this is about living without fear. You can guess all you want, but you don't know. All you can do is keep walking.
There is nothing worse than the middle. At the beginning, you have a little arrogance, loads of buoyancy. The journey, whatever it is, looks beautiful and bright, and you are filled with resolve and silver strength, sure that whatever the future holds, you will face it with optimism and chutzpah. It's like the first day of school, and you're wearing the outfit you laid out last night, backpack full of perfectly sharpened yellow pencils.
And the end is beautiful. You are wiser, better, deeper. You know things you didn't previously know, you've shed things you previously clung to. The end is revelation, resolution, a soft place to land.
But, oh, the middle. I hate the middle. The middle is the fog, the exhaustion, the loneliness, the daily battle against despair and the nagging fear that tomorrow will be just like today, only you'll be wearier and less able to defend yourself against it. The middle is the lonely place, when you can't find words to say how deeply empty you feel, when you try to connect but you feel like thick glass is separating you from the rest of the world, isolating and deadening everything.
- Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet