I’ve always been bad at in-betweens. You know, when you are waiting for something to happen, or something to become clear. When you hesitate to put down roots in your situation, because you don’t know what’s coming next, and you aren’t sure if any investment you make now will be worth it. The effect these in-betweens have on me is stultifying. I sit and look at all the things I could be doing and don’t do any of them.

You can see it in this blog, these in-between times. It becomes harder to write, harder to think, even, so I post less frequently, or stick to photos rather than words. Like the early months of pregnancy, when I can think of little else but don’t want to write about it yet. And like now.

This has been a rather long in-between. In between finishing my PhD and …. I don’t know. A baby? What else?

We are planning on staying in Norway for the next three or four years, so in order to make that profitable for me I need to either get a research grant or learn Norwegian so I can get a more interesting job. Or both. We are also thinking of  going to the US for nine months or so while I am on maternity leave. It’s not set in stone but is a distinct possibility. I was ambivalent about it at first but now am quite excited about it. Of course it complicates the whole learning Norwegian thing. But I can make that work. I’ve got to stop thinking like that.

I guess what I am trying to say is I am trying to live richly and purposefully in this in-between time. I want to kick the inertia so that I can do that. I want to start learning Norwegian properly now, although there are only three months left until the baby is due. I want to complete some writing projects, and repaint some scruffy walls in the house. Although I’m not sure where the writing will get me, and although we might not be spending much time in this house next year. Because if I don’t do anything, it won’t get me anywhere at all.

Although I find in-betweens uncomfortable, I don’t do much to avoid them, because I don’t like to rush things. At some level, strangely, I am not afraid of them. After my undergraduate degree, I had two and a half years off, during which time I worked as a home-care worker for people with disabilities, I wrote part of a novel, and after deciding that I did want to continue with English literature after all, I secured funding to do a Masters in medieval literature at York. After the masters I had another year off, during which I finished my novel (with a little financial help from the South Australian government), and managed to get funding for my PhD.

So in retrospect, those in-betweens were quite productive. It is easy to think the past ten years have left me with not much. A couple of dusty manuscripts, and a rarified education that doesn’t count for a great deal in the real world. But those two dusty manuscripts are quite nice, even if I do say so myself. They deserve to be reshaped into forms in which they can go out and meet the world. I need to be brave enough to do this. And we shall see where it takes me.

5 thoughts on “In-between

  1. What a lovely post, Meli. You stand at a crossroads in your life. I, too, had disparate layers to my life which didn’t make a lot of sense: but time makes sure each layer is eventually useful. I wish you well in your deliberations. The US time-out sounds amazing!

  2. I know exactly what you mean and how you feel! I took a year off after undergrad because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Sometimes it’s to do with procrastination, and other times it’s because when you’re not as busy, you don’t have as much motivation or drive to get things done. I don’t know!! It’s also about having plans, making plans and having goals. It’s nice though to be able to have time to reflect on things (Even though it can also be scary!)

    Where in the US? If you’re coming, be sure to let me know and I’ll make an effort to visit you! =D

  3. This post really resonated with me – perhaps particularly this line:
    “I guess what I am trying to say is I am trying to live richly and purposefully in this in-between time.” This describes quite nicely how I am trying to live my life at the moment. I feel like I’m still feeling around the edges of what I would like to do next in my life, and the struggle is to give enough time to those ponderings whilst fully engaging with the present, and making the present all that it can be. For me part of the struggle is, as ever, to avoid making comparisons between my life and that of other people. It’s one of the reasons I’m avoiding my 10 year high school reunion!
    Best wishes for your in-between time – I feel sure that much of that richness and purpose that you talk about is already present.

  4. Thanks everyone. Yes, there are a lot of good and lovely things present in this in-between time!

    If it comes off, Caroline, we’ll be in Idaho… You would be most welcome to visit! Also, if we are in the US for any length of time, I fully intend to try to visit some of my US friends, if they’ll put up with me! (And, more the point, the little one!)

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