Liminal (adj.): relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.
Liminal moments are embedded in every part of our lives. From waiting for the subway to lingering in bed before starting the day, these moments of "in-between" persist as we move from one thing to the other.
There's a beauty in these moments as in the hustle and bustle of everyday, these might be the only moments where we have time to ourselves. It's a time to take a breath, to refocus, and to clear the mind before the next thing. Liminal moments are rather calming and very often, reflective.
Right now, I'm in one of the longest liminal periods of my life, having just graduated in December and not starting work till August. This moment in transition is an opportunity and a gift.
Historically, I've used liminal moments like these such as a summer breaks to travel and explore. But I've come to realize that I could travel at any point in my life, the uniqueness of this specific liminal moment is that it may likely be the longest one I'll have until retirement.
Thus, my focus over this period has really been on how I can step outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself to grow as a person, learning new skills and meeting people along the way. This includes hitting the gym most of the week to hosting spooky ~ghost tours~ to work on my public speaking to making time to write my reflections on this blog.
Liminal moments are what you make of it. They can be a space to learn, grow, and explore both externally and internally. However, these moments are in crisis these days and have been fading away since the rise of the connected age.
Instead of staring into the void, pondering of life while waiting for the subway, we fill that gap with mindless entertainment from our phones. We plug our ears and drown out the world and our own thoughts at the same time. I've been guilty of this myself by putting on my AirPods while going on walks.
The mind is the most cursed master of us but drowning out its orders is not the answer. We need to be able to confront tough thoughts, to ponder them, and to release those ideas. Otherwise, they simmer and take over, for good or for worse.
Today, more than ever, millions of young adults are walking out of their homes facing a daily grind, moving from one thing to the next, without ever pausing to wonder if this is truly what they want. So many of us live our lives jumping through the next hoop, wondering what's next, asking what life has in store for us when we should be asking what is life asking of us?
Yet this thought never occurs to them, because they've drowned out any thought to themselves through the years, filling in those moments alone with their thoughts with immediate technological gratification.
The greatest thing we can do for ourselves and for our lives is to put down those devices and dedicate just a few minutes a day, whether by itself or in liminality, to ponder about life and our dreams for it.