What is The Waiting Place and why would I need to reclaim it?
Oh The Places You’ll Go, by Dr Suess, has become the symbol for healthy change- at least in my life. Be it to ease the transition into high school or graduation from university, it’s message at times of uncertainty, is timeless. If you are not fortunate enough to be familiar with this treasure, here’s what Teddy Geisel wants you to know:
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose
And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.
Welcome to decision making, it’s a process with options, sometimes you can say ‘No.’. There are always other choices. But you know that, don’t you? You can trust you.
Listen, this is the part that I always thought was the hardest and most poignant:
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
can happen to you.
You’re still special, but you’re also human. It’s kinda devastating to be fallible. Devastatingly human.
Ok. So this was always the part where I would take a deep breath, close my eyes dramatically, and sigh. Because obviously I will channel my inner Xena/Beyonce hybrid and get through it. I also thought this was the biggest message. But there was something I missed. Something I intentionally skimmed over. The Waiting Place.
Suess describes the moment after a slump. Confusion. Misdirection. It’s downright terrifying. It’s the kind of terrifying that gets more terrifying as you get older rather than less. I. HATED. IT. Not only did I hate it, it didn’t apply to me. I could never slump. I would always move forward. There would always be something to work on, something driving me. Analytical, yes, but confused, not me, Sir! I travel, I study, I cry, I get up, I move mountains! The Waiting Place is infinitely worse than defeat, it is nothingness. Or so I thought.
But after moving, meeting strangers, after studying and travelling and crying – not in that order- I’m waiting.
Waiting for a fish to bite… or a train to come. Or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants. Or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
I’m living a lesson I’ve told myself forever but I’m only just starting to really hear it: Sometimes, it’s beyond me. Sometimes you will have to wait. Sometimes you can apply for jobs and only find out three months later (if you’re lucky) that your dream job was around the corner. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you will meet a million duds before even having a halfway decent conversation with a 4/10 dude who pronounces your name correctly, before meeting Mr Clicked in the first minutes. If at all. We all have to visit The Waiting Place sometimes.
But this isn’t where I live, it’s transitional. The Good Doctor knew this place was inevitable. And now, 15 years after receiving the book as a gift, I’m still learning from it. The Waiting Place is where we do the most growing. It’s a tentative recipe. Too much of The Waiting Place and you’re it’s prisoner. But a visit can be the time you need to breathe, look at your accomplishments to date, and just be. It’s something we are all guilty of, it’s hard to just be. We are all looking for the next step. Sometimes the next step needs to find us. By taking stock of what you have done and contributing as you go, you’re establishing an address where opportunity knows it can find you. Creating a home built on things that you love and stand for filled with your knick-knacks and that smells like you. In a good way. And that is what I will reclaim this space for. It won’t always be brilliant, sometimes it might be overwhelming, but it will be something. I’ll be in The Waiting Place, breathing and growing. You know where to find me, and you’re welcome to join.