“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” - Gilda Radner
Are you feeling lost in the in-between? You know a change is coming and maybe you’re not exactly sure what it will be. Are you looking for a new job or position? Thinking about going back to school? Moving to a different place? Focusing your career in a new direction? Are you dealing with corporate changes you have little control over?
I’ve had several conversations recently with people struggling with that in-between place. They’re spending lots of time and energy searching and longing for (or sometimes dreading) what’s ahead but they don’t know what to do with their present life. What do you do with the waiting time? It’s that time when you’re not sure what the winds of life will blow your way and you find yourself wondering and worrying about the future, rather than being fully present in your own right-now life.
This in-between can be a place of growth if we don’t hide from it - if we allow ourselves to sit with the grief of what was and the scary anticipation of what might be. It’s a place to process all the uncomfortable feelings about not knowing. If we can turn our attention away from the seductive mystery of the future and focus on the present moment, we can savor the in-between and enjoy the journey from what was to what will be. Listen to the space that is created - that rest note in the musical of your life.
The key is learning the art of living in the moment. What is good about your life right now? It may be something as simple as porch sitting with a fresh cup of coffee or finding time for a walk with a friend. Practice setting your focus and your attention on what you are doing right now - even how you are feeling right now. What could be one thing you can be fully present with today? What can you learn during this in-between time? By sitting with the process and learning how you cope with not knowing, the “delicious ambiguity,” as Gilda Radner calls it, you can recognize and name your own strengths (and sometimes your growing edges that still need some work). Practice small moments of mindfulness each day. Each moment will help you find the calm in the center of the busy traffic of your mind.
You can also use this time to learn new skills - take that photography class, learn to code, practice your Spanish. Make a bucket list for your life right now - before the change comes your way. What have you always wanted to do in the place where you are right now?
Practicing mindfulness and learning to savor each moment, accepting even the impatient “let’s just get on with it” feelings, can deepen our understanding of who we are and even help us figure out the answer to the what’s next question. Thich Nhat Hanh says it best: