How to survive limbo

Photo: Kendra Guerrero
Photo: Kendra Guerrero

Transition: the time between graduating college and finding a job; between the decision to move and the actual move; between getting pregnant and having a baby.

The time when it feels like life is on pause. When you don’t want to do much where you’re at because you know it’s about to end—but you can’t make plans because the future feels so uncertain. When you feel like you’re like floating in limbo.

Limbo is hard. You feel stagnant, stuck—especially if you’re a fast-paced, restless soul like myself. But there are some ways to survive, perhaps even thrive in limbo.

Accept that your current situation is ending.

Make sure you can leave it behind without regret. For the college grad-to-be, now is the time to get coffee with the cool professor you always wanted to talk to, actually meet with a career counselor and review your resume, and visit that random museum on campus you were interested in.

Prepare for the future.

img_1918It’s easy to let this get out of balance, by either avoiding the future or obsessing over it. For me, the current limbo is waiting for a baby. There is a ton to do, but I also have a tendency to obsess over it and not accomplish other things. I’m trying to remind myself to do what I can, but continue to enjoy the moment. It’s good to make a plan to hit the ground running when your new future is here, but find balance in the presence.

Take advantage of the present moment.

This isn’t about fear of the future or holding onto the past (don’t let it be a “do everything you ever wanted because all your freedom is about to end!” kind of thing). It’s about the present, and finding ways to grow in a time when you otherwise feel stuck. It helps me to think about what roles in life are not going to be drastically changed. Find something that isn’t dependent on the changes you’re going through, and find a way to grow in it.

Maybe your relationships are the constant here, or your hobbies. Maybe it’s just who you are and what you enjoy.

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For myself, I feel like a baby will be changing every role in my life, so it’s hard to know what to do. As a writer, I’ve struggled with planning when I don’t know how much time I’ll have to dedicate to writing in the future. But for now, I can still stockpile blog posts, or research magazines I want to pitch to after baby. As a traveler, I can research destinations for travel ideas post-baby, or explore local spots I’ve always wanted to check out. I can also use my [expiring] free time to invest in relationships, or try out a new, easy hobby. 

See things in a new light.

When I feel most stuck, a change of scenery usually helps me out of my rut. Even if it’s not far—just a visit to a new park can be enough. Try to find a place that isn’t related to your current situation (get off that college campus). Transitions are difficult, but they can be an excellent time to learn about yourself and the world around you.

Don’t waste limbo in waiting, find growth in every moment.


 

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