As the train lurched into the station to a slow screeching stop an announcement was made “Please watch the gap as you are exiting the train.” I was curious as to how big this gap was, especially as it was announcement worthy. Nonetheless as I made my exit, oversized tote bag in hand, I was mindful of the gap. As I walked toward the stairs I glanced back at the train and the gap between it and the platform. It wasn’t a huge gap, but it was there, and I knew that if I or any other passengers weren’t paying much attention we could get hurt.
Looking forward it’s often easy to see things so that we can know how to plan and navigate accordingly. We step left to miss the puddle. We swerve right to avoid the pot hole. We purchase the extra bottle of wine in case someone shows but forgot to RSVP. We remember the meeting may be in a frigid space and we grab the cardigan before heading out. We listen to the announcement and we mind the gap, stepping over it carefully.
Looking back, there is no planning or navigating. The event has happened. We stepped in the dog mess so now we are cleaning of four shoes. We hit the pot hole and Uncle Ralph can squeeze us in at 5:30 this evening to fix the axel. We didn’t get to the store for the wine because we were already running late to our own party and four people who didn’t RSVP did show up. We forgot the sweater and by the time it was our turn to give the report we were shivering and our nipples were embarrassingly showing through the blush colored silk blouse we wore. We look back at the gap, and we are thankful for the announcement.
A few weeks ago one of the speakers at The Yellow Conference shared that as she looked back at her time abroad and the things that moved her, looked at her present employment situation which she knew was pretty fantastic, and looked forward to what she wanted for her life, there was a gap. There was a gap between her past experience abroad working to empower women in a country where they were anything but, and her present. She was presently employed with a great company, working in the field she had studied in undergraduate school. There was also a gap between her present and her future. In her future she saw herself empowering women and doing so closely related to how she had been able to do so when she was abroad. She decided to mind the gap. She decided to be mindful about the gap. With the gap on her mind, she closed it by quitting her job and going back to empower those women to create items she would sell in the US and these women would have income and be able to complete their education.
Before I got off the train and before the announcement was ever made I was reading a magazine. The article was about what some article at some point in just about every women’s magazine is about at some point in the year- having it all. As an aside, I personally don’t want it all, and other than balancing checkbooks, I’m not pro life balance as much as integration. I’m pro being one whole person, not two selves that need constant balance. I digress. The article reminded me of the gap between the few things I wanted for myself and paralleled them against my realty. But I didn’t get stuck in the gap. I didn’t fall in. I spent the remaining twenty minutes thinking of ways to close the gap and being mindful of my current reality. I was choosing to mind the gap in my life.
I don’t want to look back at the gaps in my life and see that they have become vast canyons that I could slip into at any moment. I don’t want to waste my life digging myself out of gaps I knew existed but never paid attention to. I don’t want to be so close to the platform of what’s next for me, but allowing my foot to get stuck between the experiences that brought me to the moment and my entry into the opportunity.
Mondays are great days to mind the gap for your entire week. How much of your week will get planned around anything and everything but what you need and want for yourself? How many days will you choose not to update your resume and apply for a new job, talk to your adviser and switch majors, decide that your child does not need to be in ballet, soccer, and karate and by scaling back one activity you get more time to I don’t know finish writing that cook book you started eight years and two children ago?
I don’t want Friday to come this week and you look back and the gap has become a chasm. May you mind the gap this Monday. xxoo