Sunday, September 5, 2010

American Limbo? I think so.

This American Life recently did a show about people in limbo. Ira Glass cited the original meaning of the term as the state of not knowing whether someone was going to heaven or hell. It was a show that everyone really should listen to at one time or another, and I believe that so much that a embedded it on my blog a few posts ago. It got me thinking (and that's never a good thing). Just how many people out there are in a perpetual state of limbo? I know I have been, am, and probably always will be.

Living in Korea, is a huge LIMBO move for me. Not knowing if I'd have a job in America next year, I moved to the other side of the world. I moved here, and I feel that I don't belong in a lot of ways, like I am living a huge lie. Is this what limbo really is? It's so surreal. What is life supposed to be like? Certainly not like this. Everyone I have talked to feels the same way about this place, like they are buying time between two places.

For some it's graduate school.
For others it's marriage, or a stronger relationship upon return.

At least these people have a goal at the end of this. I don't have anything. I'm floating. Is this what LIMBO feels like? Is everyone so mixed up? I don't want to do the graduate school thing and I definitely don't want to do the marriage thing anytime soon. I do know that I just want to keep exploring, but at what point does a wanderer become a sad, pathetic soul with no direction? There's a fine line when one walks the LIMBO line. I don't even know if I want to continue on my chosen career path when I return. I keep emailing people that can say they help me with renewing my certification in Minnesota for teaching reading, but am getting no definitive answers until I submit transcripts, so I just wait.

To those that have gotten out of their LIMBO state (if there are those), how did you do it and what advice do you have for those still there. Does it ever end? Or do we just muster through and do the best we can with what we have? I need some philosophical answers here.

College was also a huge limbo period. They say (who are THEY, anyway?) that college is supposed to be the best time of your life; it's the time when you really know who you are. Did anyone feel this way in college? Speak up now and comment if you really knew who you were in college, because all I knew about college when I was there is that I wanted out. Four years of HELL.

Every teaching position I've ever had has been a LIMBO in every way. My professional years since college have been lived by the year, buying time until something better comes along. I envy people who are happy with jobs for 5 and 10 years at a time. It's not like I'm all that flaky, either. I would love to stay in one place for more than one year, but nothing has ever felt quite right. I can't help but start to take it personally now. "We're sorry, you're a great person, but we have to let you go." EVERY. DAMN. YEAR. This is what people do. This is what companies, school districts, and nonprofits do. It's not personal, it's business. Numbers games, bottom lines. There's always some excuse. But deep inside, maybe it is me. I'm just not a fit for the world.

Other LIMBOS in my life?

--AmeriCorps*NCCC (where everyone was in the same position -- I think the TL's words for this was "this organization is a cesspool for mental illness" or "why do you think they keep a counselor on staff?")

--Minnesota (great people, bad weather)

--Girl Scout Camp (four summers of crazy)

--Mail + More (retail hell post college)

Just to name a few. I'm sure I could go on, but I've already done that too much thus far. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. As a therapist once told me, I can go from 0 to 100 in rocket speed. That's probably what this post just did. I have a few things to ask.

Do we ever really get out of limbo?
Are we ever truly happy?

At what point do we have to stop searching and just be happy with what we have?

Comments welcome.

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