“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.” – Thucydides
A while ago, I was having a conversation with someone who was straddling between her old life and the life she wanted to live. I happened to be giving a presentation in the room that represented the life she wanted to be in and across the corridor was a room that she didn’t really want to be in.
We were talking in the physical corridor about the metaphorical corridor she was in, which got me thinking about the corridors many of us find ourselves in.
Perhaps that corridor is between the job you have and the job you want.
Perhaps it’s between making your side gig your full-time gig.
Perhaps it’s between embracing personal or creative adventure and staying with what’s comfortable and safe.
Perhaps it’s between you playing small on someone else’s terms and you standing tall on your own terms.
The truth is simultaneously challenging and liberating: we’re in corridors because we choose to be there. ((Sickness, traumatic events, and natural disasters are beyond our choice, and the corridors they put us in are of a different kind. No one chooses those AND, even within those, we have some capabilities to start working our way out of them, even if that’s making meaning out of the events forced upon us.)) Different choices would get us out of them. And, as with most existential questions, not choosing is itself a choice.
We’re all in some corridor or the other.
We choose safety and hedging over doing the work we’re meant to do and stay in that space between.
We get wrapped into other’s stories about what we should continue to do just because we started it in the past and can neither satisfy others nor ourselves.
We tell ourselves that we’ll be able to take steps towards the room we want to be later yet find ourselves frustrated that we’re not in that room already.
And, occasionally, we need someone with the courage and compassion to ask why we’re hanging out in the corridor when we know what the clear, straight path in front of us is and just aren’t taking the steps.
Corridors are meant to be transitions between places. Some are beautiful and, yes, we might want to savor the moments we spend in them. Some are hellish, and, as Churchill said, “if you’re going through hell, keep going.”
But we’re not meant to stay in corridors.
Consider the corridor(s) you find yourself in. Do you need to …
- Get clear on where you really want to go and what matters to you?
- Figure out what are the next steps to get you through it and take those steps?
- Relax the idea that there’s one right choice or that you should know what you want to be when you grow up?
- Accept that whatever you’re aspiring to do might not work but it’s totally worth trying anyway? (In which case, it was just another corridor that took you somewhere else.)
- Either believe in yourself as much as you believe in others or start prioritizing your wants, needs, and dreams rather than others’?
Every moment is itself a corridor between the past and the future. Freedom and necessity intertwine in every moment we experience: freedom because we can choose create different possibilities and necessity because we must choose between different possibilities.
Is it time to get out of a corridor you’re in? What do you need to take your next steps? (Click here to share this. Thank you!)