We all experience the “time in between.” It’s that time spent in your doctor’s office waiting room, stuck in a long line at the DMV, or waiting at a gate for your flight.
It’s the time after you were doing something that mattered, but not quite yet when you’ll start doing something that matters again.
It doesn’t matter if we’re waiting for something dreadful or exciting – people waiting in line for a roller coaster have the same look as those in line at the DMV – because the “time in between” is still considered a waste of time.
We have ways of filling the time in between. We check our phone, zone out, and check our social media. We people-watch, play a game on our phones, look at our reflection in a window, and check our phone until we finally start worrying about our battery level. (*Generation gap moment: in the days before cell phones we only had “Hi-lights” magazines in the doctor’s office, and I’m sorry this generation won’t ever know the thrill of finding all of the 10 hidden objects.)
Even though we may fill the time in between, we’re really not doing anything useful with that time.
We have the “time in between” at school and in athletics too. This is that time at school where we’re waiting for AP and final exams, end-of-year events, and graduation. Waiting for summer vacation, waiting to go to college, waiting for the weather to change. Waiting.
Your team may be waiting too. Both teams in most contests at this time of the year are waiting: the successful team is waiting for the regular season to end so they can get to something meaningful (the playoffs), and the team with a losing record is just simply waiting for the season to end. Waiting for the “time in between” to end.
Which would be fine, except for the fact that the one thing we all want is more time.
Perhaps we all have been given just enough time to do what we’re supposed to do. It might be that we don’t always recognize the extra time we have … because it’s hidden in between the things we think are more important.
Maybe this “time in between” is where we’re supposed to reconnect with a classmate, get to know a teacher better, and to work on some academic skills that will prepare us to be successful in college. Maybe this is the time to offer sincere gratitude to our mentors, or to work on leaving a positive legacy at our school.
Maybe this time is where we’re supposed to work on those skills we never get around to training because we’re distracted by competition. Maybe we should try a new position, experiment with creative play, change up practice plans, or revisit team goals from the beginning of the season. This might be the time to find a role for the player who has been ignored, to encourage a disillusioned coach or teammate, or to offer mentorship for younger players.
The “time in between” is the time to make yourself better, or make someone else better. The time to recommit to what you want to do, hope to do, dream to do. Play, smile and laugh. Reflect, think, and imagine.
The “time in between” isn’t a waste of time, it’s a gift. It’s time we do something with it.