On being in between


I am in between.

Everything right now feels tentative, uncertain, transitional.  It’s not fully spring yet, but we’re basically out of winter.  I’m a full time professional but I am also a writer.  My children are tweens and teens, and their departure from my daily life looms on the horizon, but they are still here and they still need me (they need me even as they separate, and yes, sometimes it hurts a lot).  Everything feels like it’s in flux, though even as I write that I realize it almost always feels that way.

The one constant is change, no?  Like all cliches, that one has roots in deep truth.

I’ve never been fond of change.  And transition and the in-between is a place of discomfort for me. I’ve written before about my attraction to liminal worlds – the borders between light and dark, sea and land, day and night, child and adult.  Is it inconsistent for me to like those edges, and to acknowledge, for example, that it is dark that gives light its meaning, but to dislike change?  I don’t know.  Perhaps both of those things can be true.  Many years ago I was talking to someone who was talking about how she knew she’d be happy when X or Y was true.  Even then – I was in my early 20s – I recognized the fallacy of this way of thinking, and swore never to adopt it. Postponing living until some X or Y are achieved is a recipe or unhappiness and torment. I knew that then, and I know that now.

One thing I’m certain about is that the in-between is where life is lived. There is no arrival.  There is only getting there. It’s in the whitewater after a wave crashes that we see pieces of mica glittering. The tide is always going in and out. We are always in between, and so I wonder why some times feel more that way than others. I don’t have an answer for that. Right now is such a time for me. Learning to live with that truth, the fundamental instability of this human experience, is one of our central tasks.  That I know.

I know all that, and I still find it difficult.

21 thoughts on “On being in between”

  1. Thank you for reminding me that in between is everything we have.
    Isn’t it funny how we think and hope that knowing will make the whole thing less painful? Never seems to work…

  2. I’ve been thinking about where we live our lives- that place between all the sadness and trauma and the ecstasy and glory. It’s the extraordinary in the ordinary that we must revel in.

  3. Yes, it is funny – and also odd that no matter what we know intellectually, we still want a sense of security/stability and of an “answer’ somehow … even though we know it’s a fallacy!

  4. I think specifically of your beautiful photographs whenever I need a reminder of how gorgeous that constant change – sunrises, sunsets – can be. xox

  5. Thank you for this beautiful clarity about the importance of living now, even when it’s uncomfortable or unsettling and the temptation is to think it will all be better when…… So often I’ve wanted the mess, the discombobulation, the hurt to just go away. More and more I accept that it is as much a part of the tapestry as any other thread. Shauna Niequist says this — ‘There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming.’ Once again, I am so appreciative of your reflections and words, Lindsey.

  6. It seems that somewhere along the line we were made to believe in and search for markers, but as you say, it isn’t in the end points where we arrive, it is in the occupation of those spaces of ‘getting there’. Your motion, slow or swift, is exquisite and I thank you for sharing it. xo

  7. I LOVED this post! I’m fascinated by how things go from opposites and extremes. And until I read this post, I had no idea there was a word for that (liminal words). Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. I JUST described this feeling to a friend this weekend and no where near as eloquently as you did in this post. 🙂

    My kids aren’t little anymore and my eldest only has two more years before she leaves for college. I am very in between and working very hard to live in each and every moment. The school and sports calendars work against me, CONSTANTLY letting me know when the next thing is, hardly giving me time to enjoy the in between. Thank you for the reminder to look for the whitewater between the crashing of these waves.

  9. I love this:
    “One thing I’m certain about is that the in-between is where life is lived.”

    I am so bad at what I call “Pending.” I hate the in-betweens of anything. It is a constant work-in-progress to remind myself that while I’m “waiting”, life is going by.

  10. What a wonderful way of putting it. Living in the in between. You’re so right. There will always be something else on the horizon. Something new. Something coming. Something were waiting for maybe. But life is happening in the meantime and its so important to be engaged and present.

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