Thursday, March 13, 2014

The In-Between: Dealing with "Grey Areas"

I got an email the other day that was simultaneously encouraging and dissatisfying. It read: Dear Sarah, Thank you again for applying....we have placed your name on a short wait list. Of course, I was flattered by that they were "impressed" with my "performance at the interview," because it sounds high-stakes and pretty hard-core. My performance was being complimented; what more does a habitual achiever want?

That pesky "while" prefacing the compliment couldn't be avoided, though. It set up disappointment for the rest of the email and made the statement slightly contradictory.

Then, resurrected on my screen, was one of my most detestable phrases: "short wait list." I always found this to be most difficult to handle, because it's a matter of almost. It is not definitive; I wanted an obvious yes or no. Grey areas like this can be so uncomfortable, because you feel good about not being rejected, but you also feel sorry for yourself that you weren't a top choice. Oh, the conflict!

My mom has always said I see things in black and white. I like answers and I like to know exactly what's coming. When things aren't clear, I struggle to see the possibilities. Instead, I feel a little confused, floating in a neutral (seemingly infinite) abyss of questions and waiting.

And you wait....and wait. This might be the most painful part. After anxiously awaiting concrete results, you find out that you'll wait a little longer. Isn't it so hard to just sit around speculating? So what I'm trying to do with this wait list thing is focus on the possibilities. Instead of being overly self-critical, I'm telling myself that I made it past the first few rounds and that's an accomplishment in and of itself. I'm embracing the grey, I suppose. But it's confusing, no?

Do you see the world in black & white, or in spectrum? How do you deal with waiting and unclear answers? I'd love your thoughts!

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