The In-Between

I spend a lot of time running around. People depend on me. They have certain rather strong expectations. Things must get done. Even in my stay-at-home life, there never seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. There are dogs to bathe, yards to clean, shelves to dust, laundry to wash, hamster cages to clean, groceries to buy, and errands to run. When I was a kid, I daydreamed about how great it would be to be “all grown up”. I would be free, at last, to live my life as I saw fit. I wouldn’t belong to anyone, and no one could demand things from me.

coffee shop benches, photocrom-style

We all know life, in its infinite splendor, doesn’t work this way. When you’re a kid, you belong to your parents. You’re subject to their seemingly random whims and demands. And, yes, it’s maddening. I’m surprised more kids don’t try running away from it, because it’s no fun. But, much as I hate to say it, all that childhood torture pales in comparison to the frustrating frenzy that is “adult life”. Once you reach that magical age of “freedom”, you cease belonging to just a few people. Now you belong to the whole world. Your boss, your spouse, your kids, that annoying, overly-enthusiastic and unhelpful soccer mom on your committee, the random policeman lurking behind that bush, just waiting to give you a ticket, the crudely insensitive neighbor who always lets his dog poop on your lawn. And on and on — a never-ending list of people who now have a claim on some part of your life.

sugar and tea, photocrom-style

This is why I believe we don’t truly live in the world around us. This whirling cacophony of noise and light and raw emotion surrounds us at all times. It fuels our ideas and creativity, but it also, slowly and insidiously, sucks away the very parts of us that are different. The parts that make us who we are cannot stand against the constant onslaught of “life” and its stressors and demands.

And so, we need to retreat. We need to find the in-between: that spot where we can breathe and recharge and just exist without the world around us wanting or needing or taking or judging. The in-between is where we live — really and truly live.

coffee shop steps, photocrom-style

For me, the in-between changes. Perhaps it is something I carry around with me, buried deep among the worries and cares of my life. I can’t always find it, and I believe this hollow, needy seeking has a lot to do with why I struggle as a writer.

Today, I feel I found it … Or maybe just a small piece of it. A pleasant little bakery/coffee shop, full of natural light and the warm textures of unfinished wood. I sat there, in the corner, and let the voices and chatter of my fellow patrons wash over me. I was one of many, and yet, deliciously alone. I felt comforted by the delicate scent of baking bread. And, as I sipped my tea, I thought, “Yes. This is life.”

tea, photocrom-style

28 thoughts on “The In-Between

  1. Another lovely post. I have a favourite coffee shop (with free WiFi) where I can surf, write my novel, eat a blueberry muffin and generally do a Radar O’reilly to pick up bits and pieces to include in my writings.

    You mentioned ‘dust’. My life is far less stressful by ignoring it – especially behind the TV where all the cables are: Out of sight is out of mind!

    • Thanks! I’m happy you enjoyed the post. 😀

      This particular coffee shop is a new favorite, but it’s just about perfect in every way. I’m happy I found it. I love your mention of picking up bits and pieces to use in writing, because it’s so true. There’s no better place to write dialogue, especially, than in the midst of several conversations.

      Couldn’t agree more about the dust. I ignore it to a point … and then my allergies demand that I do something about it. Darn allergies.

    • Thank you! You know, the funny thing is that the pictures are actually less-than-lovely mobile phone pictures. I have an iPhone 4, which takes great pics for a phone … but could never compare to my actual camera. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I played with the images a bit in Photoshop. It was a fun little project. 🙂

  2. I’m so glad you found a special place and I hope you get the opportunity to visit every time you need too! Sometimes I feel as you do that everyone depends on me, and part of me wouldn’t have it any other way, but every now and then I need a special ‘escape’ 🙂

    • Thanks! It was a happy surprise and relief to find a place that seems to fit me so well. I used to head to my local Panera when I needed to get out of the house to create. I still like the Panera, so I won’t ditch it completely. But it has no natural light, and it definitely doesn’t have the atmosphere this place has.

      Honestly, I think I would be happy if people depended on me a little less. I grew up with rather needy parents (who are still somewhat emotionally needy), so I was always responsible for and/or to someone. I never had the freedom of only being responsible for myself. And sometimes, that is a tiring way to live. Not a complaint, mind you … just a statement. 🙂

    • You know, this place is new. It hasn’t even been open for a month. But it’s a chain, as opposed to a quirky, independent place. Around here, there don’t seem to be a lot of quirky, independent places for some reason. Maybe the rents are too high? Or maybe I just haven’t found them. Anyhow, the fact that it’s a chain doesn’t bother me. I like the food, the tea is great (and you can buy it by the pot), and I like the atmosphere, too.

      Given that it’s a chain, there might be one near you. It’s called Le Pain Quotidien.

  3. I am really glad you found that place in between. I never put a name to it but I like that way to reference it. I spend more and more time there the older I get and the gratitude I feel when I allow myself to linger there does amazing things for my soul. Have a great day! Hope you find more in between moments ❤

    • Thanks! Sometimes, it’s nice to find that little, in-between spot where you can breathe a little bit or relax. Daily life doesn’t leave much time for either of those things! 😀

  4. LOL, there’s a tavern not far from where I live that’s called The In-Between Tavern. I’ll bet it’s been a “happy place” for a lot of people over the years….

    Another excellent piece! There’s no doubt where my in between is…. it’s right here, in my den sitting in front of this computer, with all of my favorite stuff surrounding me (including possums in a mug!), stacks of notebooks, snacks, and even the occasional cat. And of course, the wonderful people I get to “visit” with here….

    • The In-Between Tavern — I love that! It’s a perfect tavern name, which makes me completely jealous because I suck at naming things.

      Your in-between spot sounds wonderful! We all need that cozy place to which we can retreat when life gets to be a little bit too much. I’m glad that we can “visit” each other here on the Good Ship WordPress.

  5. I love your description of “the in-between” parts of life. It’s so important to recharge so that we can be fully present in all areas of our life. 🙂

    • Thank you! I couldn’t agree more. Recharging is so necessary, although it can seem hard to carve out those spaces in the hectic bustle that is “life” these days.

  6. Thank you for your great post…I have begun mastering the “rest” I need in my life due to the fact at times I have no choice when I am not feeling well, but we all need to understand as we are pulled in so many directions that life is too short to not give ourselves the much needed “me” time. I did not do that for many years. I get it. Take care! Alesia

    • Thanks for your kind comment! It means a lot to me, and I’m happy you enjoyed the post.

      It is so hard to take a step back and “rest” when needed. I’m happy that you’ve learned to do that for yourself. After all, you deserve it!

    • Oh, wow! Thank you so much!! I’m horribly slow at posting awards posts. (In fact, I’m running behind right now and feel guilty about it. >.O) But (!!) I will get it done! I love your blog. It never fails to give me a smile and a laugh, so it makes me happy to be considered a “loyal customer”. Hee! 😀

  7. Lovely post. Now my small people are all independent – ie last one can get from a to b pretty independently – it is a bit like stepping into a whole other space. I love the luxury and the slight return to anarchy. Now I fill this ‘new space’ up by reading, writing, drawing and painting and I don’t sweat so much about all the household nonsense. I do still find -as you say – there is a Mt Vesuvius like mechanism in the house creating laundry, but I’m getting better at telling other people to deal with it.

    • Thank you for reading, and for the lovely comment. I appreciate both very much.

      I’ve often wondered what I will do with myself as my daughter grows older and doesn’t need me as much. I love how you’ve made new space for yourself and your creative side. It gives me hope that I can do the same.

      But the laundry … where does it all come from? Argh! 😀

  8. Pam, what a wonderful post. Soft and powerful, and an ending that brings comfort. My spot is my office in my home, it’s my man cave haven. I have all the toys and quiet I need to write. Please take care, and enjoy your space. — Bill

    btw, thank you for stopping by my blog can checking out my current post, I really appreciate that you shared your thoughts. — Bill

    • Hi! Thanks for your kind comment. I’m happy you enjoyed the post. I have an office “hidey-hole”, too, which I love. But, sometimes, I find myself too distracted to get any real work done. That’s when I head out to a favorite cafe or coffee shop. Sometimes, a change of scenery can inspire me to get busy. 🙂

      You are very welcome for the visit to your blog. I enjoyed visiting it very much.

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