When I imagine what makes up an adventure, I think of a hero setting off in trepidation, before being met with an action-packed series of events that propel him (or her) swiftly to a triumphant conclusion, all loose ends tied. What I don’t imagine is the hero or heroine sitting around, twiddling their thumbs, in between the inevitable beginnings and endings of their adventures.
This, in short, is my problem. Whilst you can have all the preparation in the world for how to start and end your adventures, no one can tell you what on earth should go on in between them. Should this ‘limbo land’ even exist? Or does society expect us to perpetually hurl ourself from one exciting enterprise to another, with no time to catch our breath? Maybe that is what a successful lifetime is?
Recently, I’ve had my fair share of endings and beginnings. Upon finishing university and beginning graduate life, with a handful of (probably highly unrealistic) dreams cradled close to my chest, I travelled to Dublin to undertake an internship. The high of having swung successfully straight out of one adventure and into another was exhilarating. Soon enough, however, my next adventure also had to come to an end.
So, it was back to square one. The sudden crash down to a seeming-standstill that I experienced felt monumental. The lulls in life are not what society, literature or the media prepares us for.
However, the lesson that I have come to realise is that, though they may not be as lively, these moments of stability are just as precious as the more exciting and dramatic changes in our lives. The fact that I can even stop to acknowledge this so called ‘slow-down’ shows how privileged and lucky I really am in the first place.
That being said, I’m still not quite sure how best to deal with this good fortune. My fairy-god-mother hasn’t yet popped up to stop me when I’ve watched too many consecutive films on Netflix. Nor has the tooth fairy flown down to warn me that ten different types of carbohydrate is too many for one sitting. As handy as those things would be.
So, I’ve made a quick checklist for how to get through the interlude between all of these endings and beginnings of life’s great adventures:
- The first rule on my list… Make lots of lists. If nothing else, they make you feel productive.
- Looking wistfully out of your window in between job hunting or planning your next adventure does not count as leaving the house. Just because you’re in familiar surroundings doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get out and about.
- Keep in touch with those you met on your previous adventures. You never know, maybe you will share another just around the corner.
- Take up a crazy new hobby! Whether it’s knitting small woodland creatures or keeping tropical fish (this is the one I have gone for), you might find you enjoy something completely unexpected. (More on how I am becoming a ‘Fish Nerd’ to come.)
- Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith. There is such a thing as too much planning, believe it or not. Don’t let worrying about the ‘What’s, ‘Where’s and ‘When’s stop you from taking the first steps towards your next adventure.
In other words…
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
– Henry David Thoreau
Have you ever struggled with any new beginnings, endings, or the “middley” bits in between? Leave a comment below, or just like the post!