Boy, Have You Got a Big Between!!
By Jacey Eckhart
The poor guy had a great Big Between. No one could deny it. It clung to his waist and hung behind him so heavily he could hardly move, I swear.
I met Brandon and his Big Between when we had official visitors in Norway. The couple arrived with their luggage, their expectations, and their 25-year-old son, Brandon, in tow. His Big Between made him look as self-conscious as a Great Dane carried around in a purse. While we drove around from fjord to fjell, I asked him for his story.
Brandon graduated from law school (yay) and he had taken the bar (double yay), but he had to wait for results before he could accept his commission into the military. He had a five-month-long Between to kill.
What’s a Between?
During a Next Door Project, I think of a Between as a period of time between one part of your life and another. A Between is one of the monsters lurking around your hallway (like those Spooky Little Twins). A Between is a period of time to, well, kill.
All of Brandon’s friends thought he should be killing that time by traveling. “But I have no money to travel because I have no job,” Brandon told me. “And I have no job because it hardly seems fair to an employer to get them to train me for a few months before I know I’m going to quit. And even if I did have money to travel, what am I going to do? Go alone?”
For some introverts or some travel junkies, traveling alone is the ultimate goal. For the rest of us, it is the definition of hell and the beginning of a drinking problem.
How to Identify a Big Between
During a Next Door Project triggered by a major life event (like graduating from college), a Big Between comes with three clear attributes:
1) You have done—or you are doing—everything you can do to get to the Next Door. You have finished your degree. You are working your network and doing interviews. You have orders to a new duty station. You have a start date for the new job. Your baby is, without a doubt, due in June.
2) You have few resources. A Big Between usually comes with a lack of resources. You have no money, no friends, and soooooooooo much of the wrong kind of time.
3) You are paralyzed with indecision. While you know you should be doing something, you don’t want to start anything because whatever you start is not your real life. Your real life will begin after whatever it is that you are waiting for happens.
The worst part of a Big Between is how it shakes your already shaky identity and makes you want to hole up and bloat. Its presence shames you. Which is why it needs killin’. (Not killing, which would be too violent. Just killin’. Because no “g” changes that whole sentence, I’m sure.)
To kill a Big Between, you are going to need some tools and skills, which I am already thinking up for you and will share with you next week. So, for now, hunker down with your Netflix and your HGTV and your video games all you want. Because next week we start killing that Big Between.