“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.

2 thoughts on “Plateau

  1. Love that poem and I love your bilingual turds. *That didn’t sound quite right.
    I guess I still need work on my English.

  2. This was a timely read for me. I feel like I’m plateauing right now in certain ways, and this has led to discouragement and wanting to give up on certain things. But I’m (oh so slowly) learning to enjoy the in-between, and to be content right where I’m at. It’s all part of the ride!

    Just finished a GREAT read by a Spanish author. Since you’re IN Spain and all and may have access to some of the places mentioned in the book you might enjoy it. It’s called The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. During the first couple of chapters I was a bit skeptical, but soon I couldn’t put it down!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s