How Do You Deal With The In Between Time?

Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

I heard a story once where someone said “Live the dash”. The sentiment here comes from the notion that when you die, your grave stone would say something like 1975-2075. That little dash in the middle encompasses all of your life: every little thing, every big thing, every sadness, every joy, all your relationships and accomplishments, the failures and triumphs, the crushing defeats and the wonderful experiences, all you’ve ever known and all you will ever do. The advice here was to live that dash to its fullest, with the deepest of meanings and the greatest appreciation possible. That’s a pretty nice sentiment isn’t it? But I’m wondering something. Not every moment of your life is a mind-blowing experience of joy, or a heart wrenching assault of painful sorrow. You can’t fill every moment with some really cool experience, it’s just not possible. Even if you tried (which might be cool for a while), you’d be exhausted and need some down time anyway. No, what I’m thinking about is those moments, those days or weeks, even years perhaps where what you want and what you are striving for are still in the distance.

The day-to-day minutiae of your mission might not be exciting, or news worth, hell it might even seem boring. Working hard for a goal at times may seem arduously tedious. So in that situation, how do you relish the time you’re spending when it’s so banal? For me, I’ve noticed that sometimes I’ll daydream of that better day, imagining just when things get better or when I actually do achieve that forthcoming milestone. For example, writing my thesis was in fact the hardest academic endeavor I ever undertook. Let me tell you, I went through so many reviews I thought I was going to go insane. I read and re-read that thing so many times I knew the narrative by heart and could recite it without even reading it. So even though I knew the entire endeavor was worth it, that tedium seemed a bit much to try and appreciate as having great value. Obviously the work was necessary, but it’s hard to live that dash in a situation like that. So I imagined the finished product, the final version of my thesis and how awesome it would be. Doing that got me through. I guess in that case my daydreaming really paid off. Daydreaming can’t always be the answer, but is it realistic to think there’s a simple answer to dealing with tedium and boredom on your way to living the dash? Probably not, and my guess is a lot of trial and error is necessary to find the proper answer.

I do know one thing, concentrating on the negative aspects of your ‘down time’ is never going to help. The one constant in life is change. Regardless of whether or not you want to, you will change, physically, mentally, emotionally; it’s a product of being a living being in a dynamic society. That’s why the dull drums and boring minutiae of life are not things to concentrate on while you are striving toward your goals and living your mission. They won’t last. But they will change, whether you seek it or not. If you can recognize that change fast enough, well, you just might be able to make ‘living the dash’ something someone will want to write about in your obituary. And by the way, it just might make your life’s experience that much more awesome. Who wouldn’t want that?



Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are always welcome.  



Comments

  1. This graphic fits the conceptual basis of your post exceptionally well.

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  2. It's also reminiscent of a certain Indiana Jones bridge lol.

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    1. Yeah, except here you don't have a bunch of sword wielding fanatics trying to kill you as you cross.

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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