“Try to choose carefully, Arren, when the great choices must be made. When I was young, I had to choose between the life of being and the life of doing. And I leapt at the latter like a trout to a fly. But each deed you do, each act, binds you to itself and to its consequences, and makes you act again and yet again. Then very seldom do you come upon a space, a time like this, between act and act, when you may stop and simply be. Or wonder who, after all, you are.” -Sparrowhawk, “The Earthsea Cycle: The Farthest Shore,” Ursula K. Le Guin
I am reading The Earthsea Cycle for the first time and I am really enjoying the books. This quote from the third book in the cycle really resonated with me.
This summer is a between time for me. I am between act and act, or notable actions at least, graduation and career. I have finished college. I am unsure where to go from here, so to me my future seems bleak as I compare it to the successes of others, and I see the past in terms of what I could have done better. I feel like I am not doing things right. Yet, when I let those anxieties go, when I let myself take a breath between the monumental markers of life, I can see things more clearly. I can see who I am, what I’ve done, where I’ve been. I see what I need to work on but also how I’ve grown. I can heal from stress and be content with this moment, without letting fear or ambition push me along.
The Earthsea quote solidified something I’ve been thinking over and wanting to express this whole summer. Over a month ago I read this blog post by a mentor and friend. It’s about being patient and not letting expectations, haste, or fear keep us from the joy of how things are. We so often focus on reaching markers that we don’t let ourselves be content with the now. We don’t let ourselves reassess our situation before striving towards the next accomplishment.
The push from action to action, achievement to achievement, is adventurous and interesting. It is also exhausting. So while this between time is uncomfortable, it is also a necessary and cathartic time to simply be. I am learning to take it in and enjoy what it offers.