There’s a moment before you cross a suspension bridge when time gets weird. You can feel your heart beating at a rhythm and pace that seem all wrong and the world becomes uncomfortably clear.
Lately I’ve been thinking about liminal spaces. Maybe you’ve heard of them. The light rail station. A waiting room in a hospital. An airport. The moments after you put in your two weeks notice.
Liminal spaces are special not for what they are, but for the experiences they connect. They have a very specific, distinct feeling. When you’re in a liminal space, you haven’t entered into the next phase, but you’re living at the threshold of the new.
That’s where I find myself now.
I’m leaving a job I’ve been at since 2012. Though I have ideas and plans, I couldn’t tell you exactly what’s going to happen next. And that’s terrifying, but it’s also sort of exciting. I’ve learned that if an idea both terrifies and excites me, then I can’t just leave it lying on the floor. I need to pick it up and see it through.
So, if you’re finding yourself in a liminal space of your own, here is the main principle I’m trying to apply to this experience.
The restlessness is scary. Not knowing what comes next is anxiety-inducing. Shedding the old is… not easy. But it’s necessary if we are to grow. And if we’re resistant to growth, our work isn’t going to be worth a damn.
So try to believe you are where you’re meant to be and you’re capable of doing the work you’ll need to do. This is only one stop on the journey. Don’t let yourself get pulled too far into doubt, if you can help it. Everyone goes through this at some point. Keeping a flash of hope alive will pull you onwards.
And, while you’re trying to keep the faith in your journey alive, don’t let the naysayers direct your vessel too far off course. People are going to tell you you’re doing it wrong. They might be scared for you if you step too far away from the prescribed path. Don’t confuse fear or a love of comfort and predictability with wisdom. If your spirit is calling you, it’s your responsibility to meet it.
It’s easy to think you don’t belong or even that the world doesn’t need your voice.
You’re the one who has walked this path, who did the work to get to this point. You carry the pain, both earned and undeserved, as well as all the lessons learned along the way. That means your voice and your perspective belong to you alone. And that makes these things special. I believe that the world can always use more people striving to make it wilder, wiser and more loving.
So don’t worry about whether you’re needed or whether you’ll be accepted.
That isn’t your job.
Your job is to step out onto that bridge.
And keep walking.