Living in the In-Between
A few days ago, Kristen Lamb posted on her always-inspiring blog about learning to embrace the meantime, or as I like to call it – The In-Between. This is the place you live while you are waiting to succeed. It is the valley to the hilltops of your goals. It is the space between your accomplishments or your failures. It is a time to regroup, rethink, re-envision. It is where we learn our skills, network with others, take all those little baby steps toward our dreams.
Many folks hate the meantime, the waiting around for life to really start happening. But as Kristen pointed out, there is a purpose to the meantime. Without the In-Between, you would never be able to reach your goals. As much as we hate to admit it, we need time to bring our dreams to fruition. We are not born with the skills of a best-selling author, the vision of Michelangelo, the fan base of Oprah. These things take time and practice and a LOT of hard work.
The In-Between is not a time of lying around wishing and waiting for life to happen to you. It is a time where we have to decide what we want and roll up our sleeves and do the work that has to be done to get it. Nothing in this life is handed to you. And any dream worth having is worth working toward.
Kristen’s post was all about learning to enjoy the entire journey, the process of becoming who we dream of being. I truly believe that most octogenarians you talk to will tell you that time goes by pretty fast. I am learning that as we get older, time speeds up at a sometimes alarming speed. Remember when we were in grade school and summer vacation would stretch out ahead of us in three long and glorious months? Now it whips by in the blink of an eye. Don’t wish away the quickly passing days by wanting to skip the In-Between.
If we don’t learn how to enjoy the road to our dreams, we are going to be miserable. We are going to miss out on the exquisite experience of trying, failing, picking ourselves up again, trying something else. We cannot focus only on the end goal, the prize, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Because let’s face it – [I will put it out there though we don't ever want to hear it] – we may never reach that end goal.
And what then? If we are not seeing the good in anything except the prize, where will we be if that prize is never ours to take?
Each step of your journey is important and worth paying attention to. Don’t look back at the missteps, the errors in judgement, the rough drafts. (As my good friend told me – Don’t look back, you’re not going that way!) And don’t look so far ahead that you can only be happy when you succeed.
No matter what the goal, life does not begin when you reach it. Life is what happens in the meantime, the In-Between.