In Limbo


I am nothing if not consistent. I consistently come back to the same place year after year after year. No, it’s not the fried clam shack. No, it’s not the ice cream stand. It’s not even the wine shop. Though I frequent them often, it’s none of these fine establishments of New England culture and cuisine that catches and holds me.

No, where I come back to time and again is limbo. Not the biblical limbo, not Dante’s limbo. No, it’s not exactly hell. Just a frustrating, all enveloping while it lasts, depressing state of emotional turmoil.

I visit a place that never changes. It’s the place where I feel bad about myself. It’s the place where I wonder what my life could be. No matter how accomplished I’ve become, no matter how well activities in my life are progressing, no matter how much proof there is that I lead a solid, productive existence. A dozen things go right. And then, for no good reason and with no warning, I’m back in limbo.

In limbo I experience melancholy. A sadness sweeps over me. I feel a yearning, a desire for something different, for a better life than I now have. I am one of the most privileged people on earth, and I know it. Why is it that I can’t be happy with what I have? Why do I get these spells of downheartedness? A strange sensation washes over my skin, leaving me wistful, longing for something to change. It’s like the cold wind that comes in autumn after a long, warm summer. It prickles your skin and makes you wake up. Makes you turn direction. Reflects your thoughts toward winter.

This feeling – it’s wondering, it’s longing, it’s yearning, it’s aching to reach for something but I don’t know what it is and I can’t find it anywhere. Like Carole King’s Tapestry….”my life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue, an everlasting vision of an ever changing view…a tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold.” The vision is there, but my tapestry is complex, with so many folds and turns and twists, hidden alleyways and dead ends and false turns, that I can’t see what might be there before me. I am consumed with the present, and leave no time for pondering. I don’t see the places that will trip me up.

What’s it all about? sang Dionne Warwick. Is it just for the moment we live? I suppose my limbo place makes me pay attention to the pitfalls and shortcomings and disasters that are in me. I guess limbo serves a purpose. But perhaps I’d be happier if my emotional habits didn’t include always returning to that one sad place where I wonder what is wrong. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I move ahead? Where is it that I long to go?


3 thoughts on “In Limbo

  1. Sometimes we take too much upon ourselves, and forget that we are merely human, and our time is short. I can completely understand what you say about that feeling of limbo that visits from time to time. It is a discerning visitor that knows where to hang its hat on the thinking person’s peg. You’re not alone. xx


  2. I do not come easily by faith. Faith eludes me. Also, patience is not my strong suit! But I love your words and will hope that you are right.


  3. Maybe you have another purpose that you have not yet discovered. Maybe your search in life is not yet over. Maybe it is somewhere you haven’t thought of looking. Have faith, it will come.


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