Living in the Middle

Ronit Sherwin

I loved riding the see saw on the playground as a child. I enjoyed being able to sit low with my feet on the ground and also being able to soar high with my feet dangling in the breeze. I realize now that it was for me the perfect balance of being grounded (literally) and in control and also having the freeing and risky experience of being up in the air. I have recently reflected on the see saw as an excellent metaphor for life’s varied stages. There have been phases in my life where I am in a safe, comfortable place that is identifiable and known, but at times feels weighty and not desirable for the long term. There have also been stages in my life that have felt liberating and a bit risky, exciting and open-ended. And there have been the times when I have been on one side, eager to get to the other, not really being present where I am. I have been up and down on the see saw, metaphorically, having experienced enough varied stages of life to know what the other side feels like.

But what about the middle? Have you ever experienced being on a see saw where you balance in the middle? What would that mean to live somewhere in the middle? I am not talking about “balance” as in the work-life balance. What I am seeking to understand is the possibility of experiencing both aspects of the see saw as an integrated experience – living in the middle.

Some days I think I am living in the middle. I have challenging and fulfilling work, but yet I do not desire the notoriety or acknowledgement I once did. I still have creative and innovative ideas for my field, but I don’t need to be in charge or even take the credit. And in terms of my personal life, I am content just being at home, watching my kids at play. I have travelled much in my life and I love the adventure of a new city and a foreign country. Now, I am not fantasizing about new travels or upcoming trips, although I do plan to travel again in my life, be it with my children or alone. But right now – today – I am here, in the middle – balancing, not quite completely free, but also not totally in control. And it feels nice.


Previous Posts: 

• Life’s Expectations

• Going Home


About Ronit: Ronit Sherwin is the Executive Director of Nishmah:The St. Louis Jewish Women’s Project, which she co-founded in 2005. Ronit has served as an educator in the Jewish communal field for 14 years, teaching families, teens and adults, with a particular focus on girls and women. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Ronit received her Bachelor’s degree in Education from the Ohio State University and then later completed a Master’s in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Ronit is also the glowing mother of boy-girl twins, Natan and Batya.