How to live “in the meantime”

Tom Petty sang that “waiting is the hardest part.”  And it’s so true, isn’t it?

We can wrap our heads around things ending, we can wrap our heads around things starting; but the space in between those two can be challenging and uncomfortable to navigate.

This “mean time” is occupied by many of my nearest and dearest right now, be it waiting to get pregnant, waiting for the relationship of a lifetime, waiting for the job that just feels right and good.  And while many of us are great – skilled even – in taking action to make what we want to happen, happen, we are less great, and less skilled at waiting for our ultimate end result to come to fruition.

Our mind has the tendency to automatically kick into “what can I do while I’m waiting” mode.  Think of the thought process that happens while you’re waiting for your Uber, waiting for your appointment in the waiting room, waiting for your SO to finish getting ready (just five more minutes…riiiiight?):

We scroll Instagram or watch the YouTube video our friend texted.

We thumb through a magazine.

We get started on a cocktail, because we know how long this last “five minutes” will take.

Even if it’s a predictably short period of time in between what was and what will be, we are adept at – and even called to – keep ourselves busy while we wait.

But what about when that space in between what was and what will be is longer, or worse – operating on an unknown timeline?  This can be painful, frustrating, anxiety-ridden, and anguish filled.

Until it isn’t.

Those feelings of anger, frustration, despair come from a place of feeling that we’re out of control, that we have no say in what is happening, that the timing of our life isn’t our own.  And sometimes in our lives – spoiler alert – that is exactly true.  Even when we do what we can to prepare ourselves and our immediate internal or external environments, we don’t have 100% say in what’s going on.

So knowing that, what if we were to flip the switch?  What if instead of fighting that feeling of

“FML, WTF is happening, and why?  Why not me??  Why not NOW?”

we adopted the mindset of surrender?

What if we allowed ourselves to submit to the notion that what is for us is coming, and that the wait will be worth it?  What if we make peace with trusting that not only have we done the work to prepare ourselves for what comes next, but that the only work that comes next is simply to believe that everything is unfolding as it should?

When you let yourself let go of the need to control the situation, the timing, and the result, your anger and anxiety will start to dissipate, and eventually lift.  When you stop to think right now – likely at this very instant – that there’s:

a company out there lamenting how they just haven’t found the right fit for this position yet

a person wanting desperately to find the love of their life, a best friend they can’t keep their hands off of

a tiny little baby soul, as my own kids tell me, “floating around up there, looking for the perfect parent”

the meantime doesn’t feel so heavy.

Is that an easy thing to do?  Oh helllllll no.  Surrender is its own zany brand of patience and faith.  But that doesn’t make it impossible, and it doesn’t make it unattainable.  It makes you find peace with honouring the space between what was and what will be; that limbo between no longer and not yet.  And you can get there if you want to.

What can you do right now to not simply bide your time in that meantime space, but to embrace it.  Not to obsess about controlling the timing and arrival of what you so desperately want, but to surrender to the belief that what is coming for you is coming in due time, and will absolutely be worth this meantime.  Laughably so.

To move yourself along in that direction, write out an affirmation along those lines, and tape it to your bathroom mirror – yup, that’s a thing, and it’s highly effective.  If not your mirror, somewhere you will see it regularly, read it regularly, and comfort your overactive brain regularly, to calm it the hell down, then begin to internalize this new belief.

This is your job today: write out whatever words of comfort work for you, and find a home for them.  Read them over and over, and repeat them to yourself throughout the day as a kind of meditative process.

Yes the surrender is hard, and yes, subbing in acceptance for control is hard, but taking a breath and allowing yourself to settle into submission and letting go is one of the most empowering acts of strength and self-love I think you can ever do.  Exhale, sweetheart.  You can do this, too.

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