If you think about it, all of life happens in the in-between.
On the macro level, we are born and eventually we die. Everything that happens in the middle is the “in-between,” the transition time between entering the world and exiting the world.
The in-between is life itself.
Regardless of your opinion on what is the purpose of life, I imagine that you’d agree that the point of life is not to rush through to get to the finish line, because the finish line is death.
The point of life is to live life — develop relationships, learn things, share wisdom, have fun experiences, enjoy adventures, contribute to the world — or whatever “live life” means to you.
Like animals, survival is our most basic need, the first function of the nervous system. Unlike animals, we are not here purely to procreate and survive. We get to think about how we want to navigate the liminal space between birth and death. In fact, human beings expend a lot of effort and thought trying to avoid the finish line. We don’t want to get there “too soon.”
As in the macro, so too in the micro
Nature is defined by patterns — fractals. From snowflakes to the leaves on trees to the cycles and rhythms of the seasons. Our lives, too, are fractals, because we are a part of nature.
What we experience in our inner world is a reflection of our outer world.
What happens in the world around us is a reflection of our inner landscape.
This concept of fractals can be summarized in different ways:
As within, so too without.
As above, so below.
And as with the macro, so too with the micro.
If life on the macro level happens in the liminal space — the space in-between birth and death — then life on the micro level also happens in the liminal space.
The moments that come to define our lives, the moments that we remember most — the magic moments — tend to happen in the spaces in-between the moments we consider to be the “big events.” This is true whether we consider the “big events” as the milestone moments of life — going off to school, your first job, getting married, having children, etc. — or the big events of a day — the meetings, activities, calls, and project work that fill up our schedule.
Often, our desire to “do more” or “fit it all in” causes us to crowd as many things as possible into our day, leaving as little “in-between” time as possible. Somewhere along the line we’ve been conditioned to believe that “down time” in the day is “unproductive” and a “waste of time.”
Some of us plan our days to the minute or the second, seeking to avoid as much “wasted time” as possible — all in the name of “efficiency.” With a schedule packed tight, we rush from place to place and task to task, seeking to stay “on track” to get to where we’re going, because we believe life happens when we get “there.”
Wherever “there” is.
Is it any wonder why so many of us often feel like we don’t have enough time?
How might life be different if we treated the “in-between time” with the same reverence that we treat our most important meetings and calls?
How might our perception of time differ if we really embraced the fact that life is happening here, in this moment, and not “there”?
How might you schedule your day differently if you knew that the most crucial moments of life happened between your meetings and calls?
Ultimately, we’re all going to the same place. What’s the rush to get there?