I am a sucker for before and after stories. Everyone has a story to tell, and the stories I gravitate toward tend to be the ones that involve some form of transformation. I am intrigued by how people navigate life’s changes and how they transition from one milestone to another.
We all have our own before and after stories and moments, and I view my own life in these terms. Before and after marriage. Before and after becoming a mom. Before and after my world imploded 6 years ago. Before and after divorce. Before and after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Since I love before and after stories, you would think that I view the changes that life presents me with a certain level of excitement. You would think that I would anticipate the after and all of its glory with great hope. You would think that I would believe in the very possibility that the after would be even better than the before, as it usually is most great before and after stories. You would think that, but you would be wrong. Or more accurately, I would be wrong, but I am working on making it right.
After a text exchange with a dear friend, who was asking me about how things were going in my life after a number of after moments over the past few months, I started thinking about how I have moved, and continue to move, from before to after. It suddenly occurred to me that there is more to this equation than just before and after. There is the in between.
The in between is what connects the before to the after, and it is where the real transformation occurs. It also tends to be the period that television shows and movies gloss over or present at warp speed to get to the end result, which usually is a happy or triumphant one. Everyone likes a feel good story, but not everyone likes to witness or acknowledge the pain and struggle that often take place during the in between. I definitely am in that latter group.
What I have been reminded of about the before and after stories of others and those of my own, though, is that the in between is necessary and temporary, and it sets to the stage for a happily ever after or a not so happily ever after. There is no way to fast forward through it or circumvent it. The in between is the most important part of the story.
Too often, I get tripped up by either wanting to retreat to the safety and comfort of the before or wanting to bypass the in between and go straight the an after that I hope will be a positive one. It is that impatience and avoidance that sometimes have created an after that is anything but happy and positive, and it makes the in between even more difficult. This realization coupled with plenty of recent opportunities to get this right have left me with a new perspective on the before and after stories I love.
As I have begun to shift my perspective regarding this period of uncertainty to a period of transformation, I find myself cautiously beginning to believe for myself what I believe for others. The best is yet to come. The universe has my back. Everything that happens is for my greater good. I may not be where I want to be in this process, but maybe, just maybe, I am well on my way to getting to the coveted after.
I still find myself inspired and motivated by such stories, but I also am paying more attention to the in between. It may not always be shown or noticed, but the in between is there. And I am right there with it.
That’s another story. . .
Categories: That's Another Story