There is my ideal on the one hand, shining and new and so GOOD. And there is the old comfortable habit outgrown, no longer a fit or downright uncomfortably wrong (oh how I hate to be wrong). And then there is me, somewhere in the middle.
This is life in the gap.
The days when I don't live up to what I know to be right. The days when I rebel against the rules I've laid down for myself, even though I know the reasons for them full well. The days when it's all too much, when just being good enough isn't going to happen, let alone doing better. Even the good days, when things just don't go to plan and I wonder whether it's all worth it anyway, if it only comes to this - the times when it all seems to be a lot of work for nothing tangible.
This is that moment of learning something, hearing something, and realising that it turns everything on its head. Seeing the puzzle piece that fits and having to let go of the bit I was trying to jam in any old how. This is that time when an "aha" moment of triumph and recognition turns into an "argh" of regret and yet another moment of letting go.
This is being real, living in a real world with other real people who also fail to be their very best in much the same way.
But life in the gap has its advantages.
Never being too ready to leap to judgement, being able to see other people as real people too and neither paragons of virtue or Bad Parents. Life in the gap comes with a good dose of humility and a healthy amount of introspection. Life in the gap allows me to be gentle with children who are also learning and shaping themselves, and helps me see just what it would be to force them. Life in the gap allows for a pause from relentless enthusiasm and project-hopping.
This is the life, in full technicolour glory, that I share with those around me. All of it. The in between times of life in the gaps. The better bits and the worse, the mess and chaos and ratty tired days, the dregs of my storecupboard turned into a meal for seven (or ten), the bread that didn't quite rise as it ought, the doubts and the wisdom and the pain and the joy and the silent spaces between us.
There will never come a day when I think I've got the hang of this. But maybe that's OK. Maybe that's the only way.