I recently read an article in Breathe magazine called “How to live well in limbo.” The author Xenia Taliotis beautifully articulates misconceptions about limbo, how to identify whether you are in limbo, and strategies for how to free yourself.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary limbo, is “an uncertain situation that you cannot control and in which there is no progress of improvement.”
Feelings of limbo can occur when counting down the number of days to vacation, anxiously anticipating a big birthday, or existing in a constantly shifting landscape as we did for the entirety of 2020.
Throughout 2020, I garnered an appreciation for these moments of limbo and I now actively seek them out, in part because they feel uncomfortable.
Before 2020 every moment of my life was scheduled, even my “restful” weekends. This scheduling removed the possibility of any dead time or potential limbo. My relaxing 2-hour Saturday afternoon nap was not spontaneous because I scheduled it after confirming 8 pm dinner plans the previous week.
Going from that level of structure to 2020 when the was quite literally nowhere to go and nothing to do, was jarring, to say the least, but in a lovely way. Now, on weekends when I don’t have plans, I don’t set alarms, create agendas, or even think that far ahead. Most mornings are spent with a cup of tea, my latest book, and my favorite jazz playlist. After a year of this, I’m the happiest, most relaxed, and most confident I’ve been in so long.
“If you’re a creature of habit, someone who finds comfort in your routine and the sameness of your life, then accepting this and realizing that you are not living in limbo but in a way that suits you will reduce any anxiety you might have been made to feel about not making changes.”
— Xenia Taliotis
I’ve had the question ‘Am I boring or just happy?’ swirling around in my head ever since graduation. It seems like everyone on my social media timelines is constantly hungry for more subscribers, more followers, more likes, more money, more income streams, etc.
I worked hard my whole life to get where I am, and I’m happy. I make good money that allows me to afford my lifestyle, spoil myself occasionally, save and invest. But I’m not the CEO of my own company, I don’t own any property, I don’t have a huge social media following or millions of dollars in the bank.
I used to worry that my comfort was monotony disguised, and my contentment was just laziness in a pretty package. I don’t have the Gary Vee, “Sacrifice enjoyment in your 20s to maybe build a multi-million dollar business.” gene. And no matter how I try and convince myself, I know that lifestyle wouldn’t make me feel any happier or more fulfilled.
I feel more content knowing that some of the people who are constantly mindlessly searching for “more” are searching for the feeling I’ve already found. There are still things I want to do, places I want to go, and goals I want to achieve. But those wants come from a mindset of “Life is already great, X would make it even better,” not “I need X to make me feel happy and fulfilled.”
“Don’t search for anything except peace. Try to calm the mind. Everything else will come on its own.”
— Baba Hari Das