I know the feeling. Better than you might think.
The feeling that your best days are behind you. That your best self is behind you.
The feeling that the person you used to be, the passions you used to have and the life you used to want for yourself, are hopelessly detached from the person you’ve become.
You don’t feel like yourself anymore.
But there’s a reason you’re feeling that way – one that is simultaneously terrifying and relieving.
You don’t feel like yourself because you are not yourself anymore.
You are not the person you used to be – the one who loved all of the things you once loved and believed in all the things you once believed in.
You’ve changed. You’ve altered. You’ve been around the block a couple of times. You’ve seen things and met people and learned things that have impacted you, in irreversible ways.
You’re not the person who you used to be.
But that doesn’t mean that you are nobody.
What that means is that you’re at a very specific stage.
You are not who you have been and you are not yet who you will become. You’re in the in-between.
And the in-between is where all of our most painful challenges spring up but also where the most incredible growth takes place.
It is the place where all of our insecurities are highlighted. Where all our stumbling blocks come out to trip us up. It is a place where we’re facing down all of the troublesome parts of what it means to be ourselves, so that we might finally overcome.
The in-between phases of our lives are the most difficult and the most agonizing and the absolute most lonely of all phases. But they’re also the most important.
They’re the times when we finally figure out who we are. What we stand for. What drives us forward and what we’re best leaving behind.
The in-between phases challenge us to let go of all the ego-heavy ideals we hold about ourselves and realize who we actually are, deep down. What we want when no one’s watching. How we shine when everything’s dark.
The in-between stages of our lives aren’t there to separate ourselves from who we are – they’re there to peel us away from everything we’re not.
They’re there to break down our defenses, strip us of our egotistical identities and force us to remember who we are at our core. Who we’ve always been. Who we always will be, when all the noise and the chaos of pretending fades away.
The in-between phases of our lives are when we feel the least like ourselves, but they are paradoxically when we are the absolute most ourselves.
When we are our most raw. Our most honest. Our most uncomplicated.
They are there to show us which parts of ourselves to abandon and which parts to carry with us forward.
And we will start to feel like ourselves again eventually – little by little, step by step.
As long as we’re finally willing to surrender who we’ve been, and start taking strides towards the brilliant new person we’re becoming.