In the Hallway

I remember once, many years ago, I had moved out of my home but I couldn’t move into my next home for two months.  So . . . I put all my possessions in storage and found temporary furnished housing.  During that transition, I frequently referred to myself as an “unpotted plant.”  My roots were exposed, and I felt bereft and disoriented.  I couldn’t wait to move on.  I didn’t like the in-between.  Nope.  I didn’t like it at all.Over the years, I have often been in that slightly scary place between ‘no longer’ and ‘not yet’.  ‘No longer’ in one job but ‘not yet’ in another.  ‘No longer’ married but ‘not yet’ divorced.  For growing children, there’s actually a word for such a transition phase:  tweens.  Tweens are ‘no longer’ little kids but ‘not yet’ teenagers.  I’d say that many of us in life are in tween places but usually we resist the awkward footing.  We either long for the place we used to be – or we anticipate impatiently our next place.The last time I was in a tween place, I likened it to being in a hallway – just out of one room but not yet in the next.  A wise friend told me to relish the hallway.  “Forget about the old room, “ she said.  “Don’t even think about the new room.  Just focus on the hallway.”  Maybe she was right, I thought.  I should just BE in the hallway.  Why not enjoy the hallway, see the delights of the hallway, learn the lessons of the hallway?  Why not, indeed.And so impatience gave way to an unexpected freedom.  As it turned out, the hallway wasn’t that bad.  And soon enough I ended up in the next room, as I always do.  In-between places cannot last indefinitely.   I still don’t love the in-between places, I’ll confess.  But at least I’m better about tolerating them.  I try to remember to breathe out the anxiety and focus intently on the hallway.  There’s always some little treasure there just waiting to be discovered.  Try it and see.

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