You’re Not Going Through a “Phase”, You’re Just Doing Life

After five years of feeling like I’m “living in limbo” — of not knowing what I want to do, where I want to go, or who I really want to be — I decided to start a podcast. In January 2021, my sister and I launched Thoughts from Limbo, a podcast designed to help us all navigate the messiness of life. Because moments of discomfort and uncertainty are more than a phase; ‘limbo’ is a life-long state.

It all started when I heard this line:

“Life isn’t linear.”

It came from a guy called Nicolas, who I met on a language exchange whilst I was living in Madrid. Imagine a Pirate, a Farmer, a Hippy, and a Librarian have a baby — that’s him.

He was an eccentric young man in his early thirties, originally from Quebec, who had studied philosophy at ‘La Sorbonne’ in Paris, had a Ph.D. in another similarly impressive field (potentially anthropology) and yet, was working in a bookshop when I met him.

As the conversation went on, it became apparent he didn’t follow a conventional lifestyle and definitely hadn’t pursued the career path I would have expected a Ph.D. student from one of the top universities in the world to have chosen.

He had opted to live a humble lifestyle and was very much a “live in the moment” kind of guy. He wanted to dedicate his time toward pursuing his interests, living joyful experiences, and serving his community.

For example, he described being part of a community of people who agreed to purchase their groceries from local farmers every week, to ensure they received a regular income. He had also recently researched certain areas of Spanish law to help immigrants with no social security gain access to healthcare (I had probably just rambled on about the hardship of leaving work at 8 pm like an idiot!).

My conversations with him made me question absolutely everything…

Wasn’t he afraid? Up until that moment, my life had followed a pretty linear trajectory. On completion of each school year, I had naturally moved on to the next. On graduation, I had naturally applied for a job; then another, then another.

I was obsessed with making rational, practical decisions, especially when it came to my career. And many of my choices were undoubtedly, at least in part, fear-based:

  • Fear of what other people might think,
  • Fear of not being considered important,
  • Fear of not earning a good enough salary,
  • Fear of not being deemed successful…

Even today, there’s often a divide between what my brain is telling me to do and what my heart wants.

Sure, in an ideal world, if I was a multi-millionaire and could afford to retire at 28, I’d spend my days hiking, learning to surf, hosting back-to-back barbeques in my Villa, and found a charity. Ideally, I’d also be a screenwriter, a famous memoirist, the founder of several start-ups, and a mother of five.

But whilst my ‘heart’ is busy floating in the depths of my imagination, my brain lives in the real world.

So, I hate it when people’s advice goes as far as: “follow your gut.” Honey, all my “gut” is telling me right now is I might puke from anxiety. I’m completely torn. My gut is going nowhere. Nothing to follow here. Nada.

Nicolas, on the other hand, seemed to carry every one of his metaphorical organs in perfect alignment.

He said he didn’t worry about the future because the future doesn’t actually exist; it’s a word we use to define what will happen next based on the assumption our lives will continue past the present moment (I know, right? — deep!).

He said life isn’t linear; it can curve, it can rise, and it can fall. We steer it in the direction we want to go. The only thing it can’t do is go backward. You can’t turn back time. You have to keep moving forward. But how you do it is completely up to you. There’s isn’t an upward line to follow.

He fearlessly embraced his own trajectory, accepting that it’s unique to him, and I aspire to achieve this level of inner peace and fulfillment. He’s what motivated me to start this podcast.

Moments of discomfort and uncertainty are more than a phase; ‘limbo’ is a life-long state. We never have perfect information, and there are no linear paths. So, my sister and I set out to gather life stories, insights, and perspectives from a range of inspirational people who have grown from the challenges and setbacks they’ve encountered along their journey.

Entrepreneurs, career strategists, actors, psychologists, creatives…people from all walks of life who are killing it in what they do! We discuss their career paths, life stories, failures, and successes to prove the world is rife with opportunity, and that the things we often deem impossible may just be, possible.

Whether you’re in your 20s, your 30s, or your 60s, there will be good days and bad days. Good months and bad months. Good years and years clouded with loss, tragedy, loneliness, and fear.

We sometimes think secretly to ourselves that life’s harder for us than it is for others. Everyone else seems to have it so together. Life seems so easy for them. But it’s just not the case. Everyone struggles.

Life is messy, and hard, and uncertain. So, if this is what you’re experiencing, it just means you’re doing it right. Life is one giant, messy, colorful, and emotional state of limbo.

The Thoughts from Limbo Podcast is available to download on all major podcast platforms, including Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts.

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