A liminal space is the area between what’s happened and what’s to come. It’s a time of transition and change. It’s that period when you can feel that something new is coming, but it’s not quite here yet. When you find yourself sort of in the middle, already past where you’ve been but not yet able to start the next big thing.
It’s a fluid time without a solid foundation. The habits, rules, strategies, and categories you’ve used before no longer work for you, but you haven’t found new ones yet. So you’re basically just winging it, trying to figure it all out. Everything’s sort of unclear and undefined.
It can be a little jarring, but you also recognize it as a time of growth. Because you need the time to fully let go of your old way of doing things before it’s time to learn a completely new one. It’s a necessary time, and one that can be really meaningful if you let it.
I’ve often found myself in liminal spaces, and now, here I am again. This phase of my life has been a foundational transition for me, and I’m still waiting to see when exactly I’ll break out into the other side. But as I navigate this time in all of its liminality, I’m trying to keep up some basic practices to ensure I get the most out of it.
Appreciating the Past
Moving on doesn’t undermine the value of what’s come before. I couldn’t be more thankful for where I’ve been. Every connection, every lesson, and every experience has helped make me who I am today and prepare me for the future. The past is never really gone, after all. Even as I grow, I will carry all of that with me, as well as my deep appreciation for it.
Liminal spaces are an especially appropriate time to consider one’s history, its value, and its lasting effects. There are so many things that we can learn from our experiences, but only through appreciative reflection. Even if the past isn’t a particularly enjoyable time to recollect, there is still value in recognizing it rather than rejecting it. We can move on from what’s happened before, but we can never erase it, nor should we try to.
Anticipating What’s Ahead
I’m a planner. I love to come up with agendas, checklists, and schedules for different areas of my life. But I’m also a dreamer, and I get so much joy out of simply imagining the possibilities for the way things could turn out. I think that liminal spaces have room for both. It’s always good to have goals and plans to accomplish those goals, but the future’s also a mystery, and that can be a really exciting thing.
While the past is a source of learning, the future is a source of energy. What keeps us going through the liminal spaces is the promise that on the other side awaits something more wonderful than anything we’ve experienced before. Who knows? It might even be better than we imagine. When we go in with a plan and the flexibility that comes with dreaming, we set ourselves up for success on the journey that lies ahead.
Cherishing Every Moment
But the liminal space itself has a lot to offer. It doesn’t have to be a time of impatience or feeling stuck. Really, liminality is a gift. It’s an opportunity to slow down and enjoy one’s life before the change comes and everything speeds back up again. You’ll never have more time—or at least feel like you do—than when you’re in the in-between, and if you choose to enjoy it, it can be very meaningful.
The moments I’m having with my family and friends in this phase of life will soon become memories that I’ll always treasure. I’ve really tried to take this opportunity to let people know how much they mean to me, how much they’ve impacted me, and how glad I am to have them in my life as I get ready for everything ahead of me. They say the present is a gift, and I understand that more now than ever. As my life is about to change, I’m choosing to cherish every last moment I get with those I love, because things will soon never be the same.
Seeking a New Normal
Liminal spaces aren’t meant to last forever. This one will soon come to an end. When it does, I’m going to settle into a new routine with new experiences and new opportunities for growth and enrichment. After this time of transition, I’m looking forward to a new normal. I get to build a new foundation for this phase of life. I can make it whatever I choose, and I simply can’t wait.
Liminality is fun, but we can’t cling to it. There’s a certain thrill that comes with being in-between, and it’s temporarily enjoyable. But nothing beats the fulfillment and security that come from digging deep, growing roots, and doing life with people. That’s the reward that lies on the other side of the liminal space.
Life is a series of phases and transitions. No phase lasts forever, no transition lasts for too long, and that’s the way it should be. If you, like me, are in a liminal space right now, I hope you’ll take the time to practice these principles I’ve laid out above. I know they’ve made this an incredibly meaningful experience for me. Thank you to everyone who’s playing a part in this fun time of my life, and thank you for reading. I’ll see you on the other side of this transition.