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Edition #9
Transitions and Resolutions
Emma Gabor
Edited by Dorottya Agoston

Lost in Transit: Embracing the Gift of Change

Being lost in transit is a gift. For the past few months, I have been floating around, unsure of my purpose, slowly, unknowingly becoming the woman I have always dreamt of being. From one place to the next, from one state of life to the following, we each are transitioning invariably. Whether learning a new fact or moving to a new place, graduating from university or changing jobs, we are ever-changing. We are wanderers really, always lost yet never completely, constantly finding new spots, new people, hidden secrets about this earthly life. 


I’ve always been an overworked, stressed person. Jumping from project to project, trying to do it all, lack of sleep and anxiety have been long, toxic friends of mine. It seems to me that within our society, not being productive gives people reactions akin to living with the plague. We are constantly encouraged to be around busy, productive, ‘successful’ people, and discouraged to befriend individuals who are ‘lazy’, ‘slow living’, ‘unproductive’. In fact, amongst the many mental illnesses of our time, the concept of productivity - the measure of the efficiency of a person - has become one of them. It eats at your peace, slowly but surely chewing away at your cozy evening in with your partner, making you feel not only FOMO, but a deeper sense of worthlessness that seems to linger at the back of your mind; it seems deeply rooted in your gut, not only for a mere moment, but constantly, working you into an overthinking, anxious, unhappy mess. It’s a burden you carry with yourself, like that nonexistent extra weight you think you need to lose so much. And frankly, it’s infuriating. 


There is a saying in Hungarian I was reminded of recently: “Ember tervez, Isten végez”, translating to “Man plans, and God executes”. Nothing ever happens exactly as you intend it to. And that is how I’ve been feeling for the past six months. After having graduated with an MA, having completed some big milestones in our projects, life suddenly gave me a massive stop-sign, quite literally punching me in the face and forcing me to a halt (more on that later). I had no choice but to slow down, to rest, to look deep within. I was compelled to look around, to glance within and to grow. Therefore, the past few months have been ‘unproductive’ to say the least. Looking for jobs, working on our projects somehow took a secondary place, while I began intensive therapy again, had life changing conversations with mentors, taking time to look at myself and the world around me from a newer, more mature perspective. What do I really want? Who do I want to become? Where do I want to grow and for what purpose? What do I want to leave behind? 


At first, novelty is scary, as it comes with change and much, much pain. But then, this newfound perspective makes you look at time differently. When you’re enraptured in a new way of seeing, you realise that the minutes are running by in a race. So the FOMO kicks in, though this time, it’s not the negative kind. All of a sudden, you want to experience everything, go everywhere, achieve it all. And thereby, you understand the limits of your time on earth. The delicacy of life appears in front of you in fragile moments of chaos and peace, unfailingly reminding you of your own mortality, your delightful frailty, the present. 


As a matter of fact, I had a near-death experience three months ago, making me understand the implications of human life. It made me want to chase different things entirely; while before, I was almost solely career-oriented and highly ambitious, relatively to the point of obsessiveness, I have, over the past few months, slowed down to a shocking degree. However cheesy it may sound, I find myself looking up at the sky just for the sake of it. I’m letting myself sleep in a little more, simply because my love for a more thought through, present life has taken precedence. I even berate myself for answering work-related messages after 7pm (which should in fact be the general norm). In truth, it all feels like I’m coming home to myself. And yet, the anxiety, the guilt, the fear is there. Of course I still have goals, I am still driven. I find myself asking: what if I don’t achieve what I want by x age? What if I don’t get that job? What if I am never able to work through all the traumas I want to in therapy? What if? Part of me carries a deep anxiety about these things, but the new part of me, emerging slowly but surely, simply just smiles. There are no ‘what ifs’, she says. 


These periods of rest, periods of reflection that life forces us into are not a mere halt. We tend to believe that we’re doing something wrong, that the reason why we don’t get a certain job or that we lose certain people from our lives, that we don’t have any significant achievements to post on LinkedIn, that it all means we’re failing. It doesn’t. It simply means we are being prepared for something new, something better, possibly something we cannot even imagine. When we are given respite, a breather, when we semi-consciously disappear from social media, when we hibernate, we are being given the luxury of reflection, the privilege of growth. We have the time and space to rediscover passions long forgotten, to discover our bodies again, to ponder and dream about where we want to be in the next few years. Let me be clear: this is a privilege, but it is also, as I found over the years, very necessary. Space is offered to those in need, and every once in a while over the decades of our lives, we all become one of those in need. Sometimes, life pushes you to a point of breakage, where every word, every impression, every happening can change your direction in a radical manner. In these moments in time, distance is needed. You are given reprieve to dream, to create, to ponder, to decide and eventually, to act. 


And then one day, slowly but surely life begins to let you out of your repose, of your inner world, of your apartment. It begins to show signs of your growth, it sends possible job offers your way to test you and what you really want. Suddenly, you’re making progress in therapy, you’re walking a new path you didn’t even notice you stepped on, unfamiliar, uncomfortable at first, yet increasingly fulfilling. All at once, you are tested in unexpected ways, your strength being bent swiftly, strenuously, only to make you assume it even more. Life tests your boundaries with yourself, and with others, only so you know who to let go of and what to keep for the future. It makes you revisit and relive some of your deepest fears and hurt, only so you bury them for good. It makes you fall in love, with yourself and others, only to show you your own, and life’s ephemeral, enduring beauty. 


“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.” - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.

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