Imagine you are a diver planning to jump off a sheer cliff into the ocean surf below.
Don’t worry. You’re an experienced diver, celebrated for your skill. You’ve done this type of thing before … but this is a new location, it’s the highest cliff you’ve attempted, and some other conditions are also little different.
Not a problem. You’re careful. You plan ahead. You take all the necessary precautions your expertise suggests. You’ve got this. This is going to be the best dive of your life.
On the day of your dive, the forecast is clear. The waters are calm. You’re healthy and excited for this event.
You start your ascent. Just as you near the top of the oceanside cliff, a fluke squall whooshes in from the land behind you. It was so sudden that no one saw it coming, but there you are facing the worst of its throes on your own.
The chill, wind-blown rain is stinging your bare skin, streaming down your face and blurring your vision. Your stony climbing holdfasts are now slippery and uncertain. Then lightning flashes and booms right overhead, threatening to strike you on the exposed heights.
You have a decision to make.
You can shelter in place as best you can, or you can go ahead with the dive. Proceeding is fraught with risk since the conditions are so different from what you had planned. Yet, trying to weather the storm on the cliff isn’t exactly safe either.
You decide to make the leap.
Throwing your body off the edge with practiced form, you draw on years of experience and muscle memory to make the best of the new situation.
Midair, you take in a deep breath, hold it, and hope you haven’t just made a terrible mistake.
An era full of pandemic, protest, violence, historic political polarization, and a critical election looming on the horizon is an unlikely time to strike out on the road for a new adventure.
Yet, here we are, mid-leap.
Five years ago, Glenn and I committed to cut our conventional lifestyle tethers to explore ourselves and this continent. Since we made that decision, we’ve been planning and taking all the necessary steps to downsize, procure our wheeled home and its peripherals, and then take the plunge.
Preparation can be fun. It’s a time of infinite potential and excitement. Everything is possible and all problems are solvable. With our combined life experience totaling more than 100 years, we considered and then addressed every conceivable situation we might find ourselves in.
Except the situation the world is in now.
Like the diver we just left in midair, we decided to take the leap. We could have stayed land-bound “until things were safe.” Yet, we weren’t really able to define what that meant.
So here we are in the slow-motion, midair limbo of having taken that leap.
Embracing the In-Between
Leaping is an action. Action happens in the now – that moment between your past and future. In effect, while you are doing any action you are in limbo.
Just like our diver surprised by an unexpected storm, we’ve had to quickly re-calibrate our plans to account for the new reality, but we are still taking this plunge.
For the past several days – and for the next several weeks – we have lived and will continue to live in limbo.
an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place
We’re staying full time in our teeny travel trailer, “Libbie,” while commuting back to our house to pack and to store and to exit.
Libbie isn’t fully moved-into yet. We are still learning her various systems, learning what we can (and cannot) fit where, and learning what it’s actually like to live in a tiny dollhouse on wheels – contrasting our unpracticed stuttered and shuffled steps around this small space with the blithe, floating grace we had envisioned while planning.
Right now, all our worldly belongings are in so many places. Some in storage, some sold or donated to grateful strangers, some given to family, some in Libbie, and still some at the house until they too find their way to one of those fates.
Our thoughts and daily routines are likewise spread across various spatial and temporal arenas. When we think of our local family and friends, they currently exist in a fuzzy somewhere between close and distant. When we reach for that familiar object and we discover it’s not there, we have to pause to recall where it is and whether it deserves to live on the road or in storage or elsewhere.
This will be our continuous fate for the coming weeks. Staying safe from the pandemic, shuttling ourselves and our things between our trailer, house, and storage – until we free-fall into our full-time experience of in-between, living on the road.
Deliberately suspending ourselves in a permanent state of un-permanence.
Embracing uncertainty and unknowing in limbo.