“I don’t know,” I told my friend. “I feel like I’m at a plateau with my Spanish.”
She nodded. She, too, understand the feeling, of words slipping through your fingertips, wispy, like the scent of lilacs. “You know,” she said, “It’s when you plateau, that you’re about to grow the most.”
I know this to be true. In-between is part of life. When we’re younger, we will never be old enough to swim alone, ride without training wheels, drive, drink, vote. Time stretches in its own version of eternity.
And as we age, it springs back, morphing our toddlers into men in seconds.
And yet, also in decades.
When something is hard, and unpleasant, we rest on that plateau. Presently, I have a list of goals unachieved—a perfect shrug for my clean, a good, solid, knees-forward squat. And that’s just CrossFit.
My Spanish is still heavily accented, still very much in the Frankenstein man-child phase. Phrases like, “To me give these to them,” or “I nothing learn never,” fall like bilingual turds.
Friends are moving away this summer. Too many of them. I stand on the plateau, wondering if solitary cafe con leches are in my future.
And yet, the magic is about to happen. The gift of middle age is the truth my friend spoke. In-between is when the flowers bud, when children take those first wobbly steps, and you suddenly speak in the subjunctive.
And while it is frustrating, and dark, and so, so easy to fester on that plateau, I know I have ascended before. To paraphrase a wiser woman than myself, I’m not staying here on the plateau. And still I rise.