I always sucked at that stupid limbo game we used to play as kids. My back was stiff as a board, my legs long and inflexible, and my perception of distance just a bit off kilter. As a child attempting this silly sport at recess or the roller rink, I would always taste my imminent victory just before the top of my back would inevitably graze the dreaded bar, wobbling it just enough to announce my failure to the smug, ammature acrobats on the other side. Indeed, the kind of limbo game we played in middle school listening to the Macarena and eating cheese pizza I have never mastered. In fact, this game made me want to yank the bar off the stand and ream the flexible gumbo kids over the head with it. However, there is another kind of limbo I have since learned of, that I seem to have found an affinity for. This kind of limbo can be defined as:
1. an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place.
2. a place or state of imprisonment or confinement.
This state of limbo is where I find myself today. Neither here nor there; one foot in the present and one looking for the next place to find traction. One eye fixed on seeing what is right in front of me, and one eye focused on the distant horizon, where my future goals wait for me to seek. Right now I am nobody, and nowhere. I feel unwilling to keep my feet firmly planted in the soil beneath me, because I know I will have to uproot them again in the next phase of my life, directing them down a new path. I have not adopted new goals and lifestyle choices in the place I exist now, because I feel that my next chapter will need to be written on a clean slate. My new life will have to arise from the ashes of my old.
I’ve become comfortable with the notion that this is all temporary. School, part-time jobs, partying: all of the components of my ritualistic life. This is all something that I’m doing now before life really begins down the road. Once I have reached that junction, I will be set. Until then, I’ll cruise with my seat back listening to my favorite playlist on repeat, taking no detours, seeing no sights, and never stopping to enjoy the fresh air. I will keep my car directed straight ahead on cruise control until I reach that iconic destination labeled: “ the real world”.
So that’s where I am today- Northbound on the five, heading away from my old life in the Southern extremity but nowhere near my destination on the Northern tip. I’m in Barstow, Bakersfield, tangled in the grape vine. I’m in limbo, no longer where I once was and not sure where I’m going. Or even where I want to go. Or do I want to go? Afterall, I’m comfortable.
Comfort is another term that has taken on a new meaning for me. If you had asked me a year ago if comfort is a good thing, I would have looked at you like you’re a blithering idiot. Duh it’s a good thing!! How could comfort ever be bad? Well strangely enough, today I find myself in a state of comfort, and yet it isn’t satisfying in the way that I expected. Sure, I’m not fighting for survival, sweating for success, counting cents, seconds, or days to meet deadlines (though I probably should be). Instead, I’m counting sheep. I’m listless, lethargic, uninspired. Everything is the same each day; which is comfortable but not fulfilling. I almost wish for a cold bucket of ice water to be dumped on my head- it wouldn’t be pleasant, but at least it’d jar my senses, wake me out of my slumber, or at least force me to move to a dryer spot that might offer just a slight change in perspective. I almost wish for some drastic, unforeseen tidal wave to roll over my life, washing out the stale, extraneous rubble, leaving behind only what is essential for rebuilding. Then, I wish to be the architect, engineer, and decorator of my new life. Have a hand in every board and nail that is placed upon new structure. Be able to look proudly at the masterpiece I have erected, satisfied that I took the time and energy to build it on my own, and it wasn’t easy. Comfortable not because I’m in limbo, but because I came out of it.
It’s interesting how the childhood limbo game requires flexibility, focus and strategy to master. I think that must be a metaphor for life. Leaving this state of inactivity, transition, and imprisonment I find myself in today will take all three of those traits. Moving forward, I hope to claim the limbo victory that my childhood self never could. Fortunately this time around I won’t need to bend any unwilling limbs or humiliate myself in front of crowds of jeering children.