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Make the Middle Count

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Courtney Carver. Courtney writes about simplifying and living life on purpose at Be More with Less and is the author of Simple Ways to Be More with Less. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Beginnings and endings are interesting, but what happens in the middle is what makes each of us unique. There is so much pressure to make money, spend money, work harder, have more and fill up our calendars, that it’s no wonder we get confused, not to mention tired.

We cannot measure the quality of our lives by:

  • The success or failure of business
  • How nice our cars are
  • How much stuff we have
  • Extravagant vacations
  • Degrees and awards
  • Number of Twitter followers or Facebook friends
  • Overstuffed closets
  • The balance in our checking accounts
  • Number of emails in our in-box
  • Quantity of voicemail messages

All of those things are easy to measure, but mean nothing when you think about the big picture. When you think about how you live your life, statistics mean nothing. None of those things speak to your character, or how you see the world.

Measure the quality of your life by:

  • What you give
  • How you love
  • Who you help
  • The smiles you exchange
  • The enormity of your gratitude

Give yourself permission to call a time-out and think about the way you are living. If you don’t remember what you had for breakfast, it might be time to slow down. Don’t be afraid to schedule a little less, and leave a little time for life to happen.

If everyday you are in awe of something, give part of yourself, and say thank you for the opportunity, your middle, your in-between, will be a life well lived.

What is your best moment in the middle?


Editor’s note: Be sure to check out Courtney’s new ebook, Simple Ways to Be More with Less.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jenny @ exconsumer April 11, 2011, 6:28 am

    Hi Tammy & Courtney!

    Courtney – This is so simple and so true. I love the way you break down the most important things we’ll ever do in this life into one concise bulleted list.

    I’ve had many “moments in the middle” lately. But most recently, I woke up to discover my cherry blossoms were in bloom. What a way to start the day!

  • Courtney Carver April 11, 2011, 8:05 am

    Jenny – It’s always simpler than we think it is.

  • Kelly April 11, 2011, 9:43 am

    I recently discovered that my parents are way cooler than I could ever imagine. My brother and I have been uptight around them for most of our lives since they’ve always seemed so uptight and awkward. I think recently we’ve all started to loosen up and accept each other for the goofy awkward bunch that we are rather than get frustrated and clam up. I am wicked lucky to be figuring this out in my early twenties. I wouldn’t want our entire lives to go by as strangers.

  • Holli April 11, 2011, 9:43 am

    This morning my kids were giving me raspberry kisses on the cheek while I was trying to get out the door – my son to preschool on time. But, it was worth being 5 min late for such silly fun…even if I had extra moist cheeks:)
    I appreciate this post, and have discovered many of the things you listed during the past year. We have started to say no to things in order to have more free time as a family.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Layla April 11, 2011, 10:53 am

    This is so true! The middle always gets overlooked. When I used to do figure skating, my coach made sure I had things I could do really well at the beginning and ending of my program because that is what makes the biggest impression on the judges.

  • Nate Klemp April 11, 2011, 2:51 pm

    I really like that you use the word “middle” to describe this state of being in between beginning and end. It reminds me of Aristotle who talks about the importance of aligning our actions with the “mean” — that state in between excess and deficiency.

    In my life, I find it easy to fall out of this middle state and get consumed by aspirations of success. So thanks for the reminder. Thanks for pointing out the gifts that arise when we take a step back from the chaos of life and experience things like gratitude and love.


  • Tracy Chapman Meno April 11, 2011, 3:10 pm

    I love those lists you made, measuring the Quality of our lives!! I recently did a post titled “Who Are You Without Your Stuff?” that has a similar theme…. 🙂

  • Justin Guzman April 11, 2011, 4:28 pm

    How many young adults starting out in the corporate world should read this? I think it would benefit them greatly. Too much posturing and tail chasing happens in that world. I know. Once in a while you have to step off the ladder you are climbing and see how much good you already have. You may find that you really dont need to climb any further.
    thanks courtney,

  • Deborah April 11, 2011, 5:06 pm

    You are so awesome! You hit the nail on the head. Thank you for all the words of wisdom and inspiration!

  • Roy | cruisesurfingz April 11, 2011, 6:04 pm

    Great advice. And nice to be reminded to be grateful for how lucky we are 🙂

  • Tess The Bold Life April 12, 2011, 2:31 pm

    Love this!!!

  • Sarah Groskreutz April 12, 2011, 6:26 pm

    “Give yourself permission to call a time-out and think about the way you are living.”

    Such good advice. I recently did this myself and it has had a profound effect. I’ll be dancing in the “middle” a lot more now.

  • John Hayden April 16, 2011, 11:19 am

    The time between graduating from high school and graduating from college, that was a good middle.

  • Karen April 17, 2011, 5:20 am

    Measuring our lives by the enormity of gratitude speaks volumes to me. Volumes.

  • Thea | Write Change Grow April 28, 2011, 11:27 pm

    Hi Courtney and Tammy

    Just loved this! I could not agree more. This short post proves we don’t have to write a lot, to say something really important.