So here we are, right smack dab in the middle of that ambiguous period of time that exists between Christmas and the New Year. It’s a limbo like state in which weeks, if not months, of Christmas preparation get unwrapped, tried on, tried out, exchanged, repackaged and put away until next year. It is a time of year in which the excitement of Christmas seams to naturally give way to the more sober sentiments of another year in the books. As we enjoy the twilight of the Holiday Season, we also begin to prepare for a New Year rife with new hopes and new promise. There is a certain anxiety present as we navigate this space between celebration and uncertainty. It’s a bit of an empty time. As human’s we prefer defined starting points. We are conditioned to wait for the gun to fire, for kick off, for the first pitch. We are a scheduled population. So now we inherently sit idle, content with waiting, sure that once the ball drops we will, once again, charge forth from the line, resolute in the achievement of resolutions. It’s accepted procedure, but what if it weren’t. What if we regard this space in between, or all spaces in between life’s events for that matter, as defined opportunities rather than hazy pauses along life’s path towards potential? What if we used these moments, the bridges of time, to reflect and prepare; to learn and to grow?
There are 86,400 seconds in a day, 604,800 in a week. A large number of those are spent in transition, in limbo, waiting. Whether it’s the week in between Christmas and New Years, the hour spent commuting to work or the minute walking from the parking lot to the grocery store, life is filled with “spaces in between.” Each space costs the same; one second buys you exactly one second. Why not invest it?
As an example, I have decided that I want to devote more attention to The Hero’s Handbook this upcoming year. In order to do so, I know it is necessary for me to remove needless distractions and to create a work environment conducive to creative thought and progress. This week I have spent minimizing; cleaning the garage, reducing closet clutter and re-arranging furniture. I have begun writing 5-minute journal entries and have made time for two-minute meditations. Though I would like to jump right into the blog, to longer journals and to more complete meditations, I know that too ambitious a start will lead to burnout. So instead I am cleaning the slate and formulating new habits that will eventually grow into my aspirations. I am using this “space in between” as a chance to consciously prepare for and pursue the potential I know exists, but that is, as of now, a bit overwhelming.
In the smaller spaces, the one hour and one minute moments, I listen to pod casts or practice restorative box breathing exercises. I believe in mindfulness and life long learning. These two practices facilitate both. (Two of my favorite podcasts are The Art of Manliness podcast and those by Tim Ferris. My go-to breathing exercise consists of a 5 second inhale, 5 second hold, 5 second exhale, 5 second hold, repeat.)
By no means am I suggesting you spend every second of your life actively doing something, or that, God forbid, you forgo Facebook and Snapchat. I am merely suggesting that some of the “spaces in between,” be spent with intention, laying the groundwork for a heroic life.