Learning to embrace living in the limbo of the unknown

By Rachel Hall

You just need to know when (insert the event you are obsessing over) will happen. You promise you will calm down as soon as (re-insert obsession). It's like this is happening for the first time, but in fact it's not. The truth is, you have lived in limbo before. You have waited for that job offer to come through, waited for that special someone to call, waited for that pregnancy test to turn positive, waited for your boss to finally make a decision about your position or salary…we have all waited, and yet, here we are again, obsessing, ruminating, and waiting to move forward.

I have always struggled to "live in the moment" as every great yogi, spiritual advisor, and people who get "it" demand of us. To be happy "they" tell us, we must live in the moment. But to me, 'living in the moment' asks me to let go of my plans, and without a plan I feel lost and vulnerable…anything could happen!

I think that living in limbo is often the closest I can get to living in the moment. In order to do this, I must name it. "I am currently in a state of limbo, so I am giving myself permission to not be certain…about anything, my plan, is to not have so many plans. I am going to ease up (just for now) on career goals, self-improvement, social obligations, and the way I think my day or week "should" go. I might even skip garbage night.

It feels a bit like floating. Embrace the float, embrace the lack of gravity, commit to not committing and be one of those people you swear you don't understand ("what do they mean, when they say "I will play it by ear, see how I feel")? Try it.

What does it mean to embrace limbo? It means we give ourselves so much more permission! It's like an emotional honesty hall pass. When people ask us to commit to social obligations, we respond with "I will see how I feel." While I still have a calendar that is often broken down into 30-minute tasks throughout the day, I now look at it as a suggested way I could spend my time…not a do or die "to–do-list". I realize that most of my "must do's" are not musts at all, and that while I could never live in limbo forever, I could also burn out if I always operate at my full neurotic-obsessive-compulsive turbo-speed.

How to love your Limbo:

1. Recall a previous time in your life that you were living in Limbo. Think about how you spent that time. Did you embrace your limbo, or did you fight it? We usually have 20-20 hindsight and realize, hmmm I probably could have handled that smoother. Ask yourself what you might have done differently and try it TODAY…like right now.

2. What might the benefits of living in limbo be? What could you give yourself permission to do if you were not set on being certain?

3. Still having a tough time with this? No worries, pick a date to end this maddening commitment-free directionless semblance of a life (that some people shockingly adhere to forever). How long does it make sense to live like this? A week? A month? A year? Pick a date and chill out until then, LOVING YOUR LIMB.

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