Let’s Get Liminal.
"Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they're finished.” So says Dan Gilbert in his TED talk video (included below). People—at all ages—vastly underestimate how much change they’ll go through in their next ten years.
During my time at Airbnb, when I unwittingly was as much an intern as a mentor, I came face-to-face with the word “liminality,” which describes the ambiguity and disorientation one feels in the midst of transforming one’s identity. My word for it? “Gooey.” Like what happens to the caterpillar in the middle of its metamorphosis into a butterfly. Airbnb was my chrysalis.
Since we don’t have rituals in the modern workplace to assist with this transformation, it’s a foundational part of our Modern Elder Academy experience: learning that you’re not alone in navigating midlife transitions, along with the simple idea that we can all learn from each other. You navigated learning to walk, going through puberty, getting dumped by your first love, feeling out of place in a new job. Yes, you were awkward during these times, and you will be awkward again.
The great midlife mindfuck (excuse my language) is that you’re not supposed to change and when you do have to change, you’re supposed to do it seamlessly. Get over that mindset, and the world offers you so many more options and a lot more joy. Watch Dan Gilbert's TED talk as a great complement to this post.