Embracing the Next Step

wander

I don’t like large shifts and changes. I especially don’t like not knowing the next step in front of me. Waiting on the universe to unfold the next stair while my foot already dangles mid air. No thank you, sir. And sometimes. This general resistance toward change can lead to a not so great thought process.

In mid June my contract at my current position is ending and I’ve chosen to not attempt to renew it. I’ve known for awhile this season was passing through, but now that it’s coming to a close I’m wanting to stay on this page instead of turning to a new chapter. I want to write a few more pages into something already ending because choosing to stay means not having to feel stuck, unsure, or afraid the next move won’t present itself. My instinct as of late has been to avoid the uncomfortable nature of being stuck and the following changes.

I became frozen with the indecision of staying where I am or moving forward because not having it all figured out felt unnatural, irresponsible, and a wee bit nerve wracking (read: makes my heart clench cause PLANS ARE THE BEST EVER). I was ready to stay in a season that had passed in order to avoid feeling unsure and afraid of not being able to figure it all out.

But here’s the thing: You do not have to have it all figured out to move forward. You just don’t.

Let’s be honest: Change is hard. Even when it’s good change, it’s hard. Just like stress is a bell curve so is change. It’s good up until you hit your max and then it starts to wear you down.

And dammit. I’m tired of change. Since I began college it has felt constant. However many years later I am in grad school and change still beckons with it’s knobby old finger. People who think spontaneity is sexy are smoking something because consistency is the real head turner if you ask me. I like rhythms and familiar things. Knowing what to do when and where. But that just hasn’t been the road for me. I look to my left and right at friends who went to college and graduated to get normal jobs, and feel envious of the routine they already have in their lives. And then I look back at what’s in front of my own two feet. And I know they’re planted right where they need to be and I’ve been making the hard choices to move forward even when I’m not sure how it’s going to pan out.

Maybe you feel this too. Stuck. Not wanting to move forward for fear of what it will mean to take those next steps. And I really get it. But what scares me more than change and not knowing the next step is staying somewhere I’m not supposed to be anymore. Somewhere where I’ve learned my lessons and left behind my own good things.

All that said… Now I get to choose if I want to keep walking along resisting each tiny step forward. Or if I would like to embrace the new opportunities that I know are silently on their way. As stubborn of a person as I am, I think I would like to let go of the fear and say hello to the new good things on their way. I’m not saying I won’t feel the weight of the change because I know I will. I’m saying that I’m choosing to trust myself that this is for the best and I’ll be happy I didn’t choose to stay.

In Between Land

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in between

In between can happen at anytime.

You walk along with life making as much sense as it ever does, and then it happens. Your ankle bends a little to the right, and you wonder why the ground is giving way.

Looking down you realize the ground isn’t quite so solid after all, and your feet are quickly fading from sight. The descent feels slow though and you panic as you glance around. Ankles slide under as you take a breath, but now the sand is around your waist, and you’re flailing in your efforts to grab onto to just about anything. You fall through the hole with hands wildly reaching only to hit the ground in surprise with a thud.

Welcome to In Between Land.

Maybe you haven’t fell down the rabbit hole to this not so far off land yet, and no one has darkened your ears with what it’s like to be in a place where you aren’t really anywhere at all.

Well, let me be the first.

You’ll start out so assured. Assured of all you know and where you think you’re going. And then one day all those answers, which filled so many pages, don’t seem to fit quite right. The road in front of you doesn’t seem so straight anymore either. In fact, it appears to curve to and fro never settling in one certain direction.

Oh you know when you’re livin’ here alright.

You don’t care if you go backwards or forwards it doesn’t really matter because you aren’t sure you’ll even find your way out. There aren’t any signs or blinking neon lights to guide you home. No, it’s just you and all the surrounding space. Street lights and google maps don’t exist here, friend, so go ahead and put that phone down now.

You start to wonder where you were supposed to have turned in order to avoid this catastrophe of a place. Because surely, this land was never a part of the journey. A misstep. A bad turn. Nothing more than that. Could have been the turn at that old pine a few miles back. Yeah, that’s probably it. You finally see a sign in the distance and get closer only to realize it’s just mocking you with its blank face.

Flopping onto the ground in frustration, you think maybe you don’t even want to go where you had planned to go anymore. It’s not where you were meant to go after all. But then again, you’re half way there, and someone seems to have taken fire to all the maps going anywhere else.

And where the hell did this forest of trees come from? Trees so thick you can only see a few feet in front of your nose. They really aren’t helping matters. If someone, anyone, could just tell you where to go you would kiss their feet, and give them all you have.

You just don’t want to be here anymore. A place where nothing is clear, and you can’t seem to wrap your hands on anything before it just slips away.

Every step forward proves to be the wrong direction, but you keep trying anyways because there are only so many paths, right? Or maybe you’ve frozen. You’ve planted that ass in one spot like your mother taught you to do when lost, and you aren’t movin’ until you know where to go. Problem is nobody’s going to tell you. Because you’re the only one here remember?

You aren’t afraid of the journey. No, you would do anything to get where you need to be. But no one seems to know where that is much less how to get there. And so you sit in this place. By yourself. Waiting and hoping that something will give, and that you’ll be able to feel it in your bones when it does.

And even though it feels like forever in a sunless topsy turvy kind of world I promise you won’t be there always. The secret of In Between Land is in its name. It’s only in between. There really is another land to venture into in front of you it just hasn’t made itself known yet, but it will in good time. (I didn’t say in your time I said in good time.) So scour the land while you’re there cause I’m betting you’re learning and finding all kinds of things even if it isn’t what you were looking for.