It’s been said that life is from B to D—birth to death. But what comes in-between B and D? It’s C—choices. 

Life is an expression of the choices we make. —Laurie Buchanan

If you’ve ever walked through a cemetery, you’ve noticed that:

Every headstone has a different name
Every headstone has a different birth date
Every headstone has a different death date
Every headstone has a different epitaph

Pioneer Cemetery, Boise, Idaho

But every single headstone, without exception, has one thing in common; it’s the hyphen in-between the birth and death dates. That bit of punctuation—the hyphen—represents everything in-between B and D—birth and death; it represents a person’s entire life.

How’s your in-between coming along?


50 thoughts on “In-between

  1. Making the most of the in-between is so important. I feel like mine is coming along well. I always wish I could do more but time and finances can be a hindrance. LIfe is good!

  2. You are the Queen of Questions, Laurie, because you are a “noticer.” Linda Ellis wrote a poem called Dash (your hyphen) about this very topic. The poem was copyrighted in 1996 and cannot be reprinted, but just like you, she emphasized that what mattered most was what happened between birth and death.

    How is my in-between coming along? I think those who know me would be the best judge of that. I agree with Fatima that fortune favors the brave. 🙂

  3. Every single person in the cemetery had a life of joys and sorrows. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own events, we forget all those who have lived a life like us, many of the same sorrows and joys, tears and laughter. Life has gifted me with people and places and opportunities I would not have dreamed possible.

    • LakeAfton — The cemetery pictured in this post is less than a mile from our home. I make a point of walking through it regularly to remind me of exactly what you said: “Sometimes we get so caught up in our own events, we forget all those who have lived a life like us, many of the same sorrows and joys, tears and laughter.” Further, it makes me even more grateful for every breath I take 🙂

  4. My guy and I walk through a beautiful cemetery – Sleepy Hollow in New England – frequently. Some greats have stones there – Louisa May Alcott, Hawthorne, Thoreau – but most are people like us who lived their C between B and D. Our walks through the cemetery aren’t melancholy, but reflective for sure. How fast life passes by. What were their lives like? When we’re gone, will someone walk by our grave and wonder about us? (Well, no, they wont’, because we believe in cremation, but you know what I mean.) This C part of our lives is so important to each of us, but is it important to anyone else? That’s a crucial question. The answer I’ve found so far is that the love we give passes on from generation to generation, so yes, our C makes a difference.

  5. The C phase is rich with possibility. Change is the subtitle of my life. I’ve worked to stay awake, conscious of opportunities for personal change; to being involved in creating change for social justice (along with millions of others); to being resilient and flexible to change that comes unannounced. Although far from perfect, I have on the whole, kept a positive, forward momentum.

    A required book to read in my coaching certification program was about living as if you had one year to live. We may, of course, not have that long. I have observed several family members and friends with acute, late stage disease. The courage they exhibit is a model for both living exceptionally well and how to face the threat of imminent death.

    To the point of your post, in 1995 I picked up Sue Bender’s book, Everyday Sacred: A Woman’s Journey Home. He theme is about the small things in daily life. Now, I’m usually not about the small. Yet, Bender’s book does hold small and powerful lessons for living well.

  6. A good reminder to pay more attention to the C. This alphabet analogy also clearly emphasizes just how short the time is between birth and death…and the only time we have to make a difference.

  7. Ah, that in-between, the middle place as I (serendipitously!) wrote about this morning. It is where we make a life, a difference. It is where legacy is formed. It is the time of waiting and wisdom. How is my in-between? Ever changing, I suppose. I think that’s how it’s meant to be.

  8. Living our in-between to the fullest isn’t always easy, but definitely worth our efforts. I’m in my 4th quarter now and have very few regrets. The hardest part is conjuring up new goals to keep me from getting too lazy. 😀

    • Patricia — Living a life with very few regrets is wonderful. And I fully agree that living life to its fullest easy always easy, but most definitely worth the effort. Thank you for throwing your hat in the ring this morning. I appreciate you 🙂

  9. I’m living the in-between to the best of my ability. There are regrets, but then I remind myself that each of those situations was also a learning experience, and that’s what a good deal of life is, isn’t it? I think the biggest thing for me is to remind myself that I have so much more than so many others.

  10. Landmark in one of their advanced courses had a phrase on the white board:
    and the conversation that went with it went something like:
    “See that little dot, that is your life, the period between birth and death. What are you making of it?”
    Ask myself that question most days.
    Ask myself many questions most days!

    Still searching for a high probability path of delivering the greatest possible security with the greatest possible freedom to every person (self aware entity – human and non-human, biological and non-biological).

    And I keep taking such opportunities as seem appropriate.

    And any finite period is as nothing compared to any infinity.
    And we are not yet certain if we are actually dealing with any infinities, or just very large approximations.
    Spent some time on the latest MIRI newsletter (Machine Intelligence Research Institute) over the last couple of days. What they are doing is interesting, yet I cannot help but think that they have it fundamentally inverted. Evolved intelligence is not about optimising utility functions; it is about the differential survival probabilities of the systems that have actually been instantiated.
    To the degree that such systems can be thought of as having “utility functions”, then it their approach has some utility, but the reality of evolution just seems to be one of largely randomly generated sets of variations either surviving or not in particular contexts.
    That is a very different sort of thing.

    Not many people in the AI community seem to have actually gotten the systemic depths of that distinction. The probability landscapes that result are very different.

    And this dot I am living seems to be generating interest and diversity 😉

  11. My in between is going much better these days – I got a bit overwhelmed during the small children, working, teenage years. I do have one regret that I never made a truly decent paycheck for the intelligent, valuable person I am and each month as my tiny Social Security Check arrives I bless it for it must go very far, very far. I saved and invested as much as I could but it truly is only enough for one and we are two.
    The thing I am most wonderful about is that I have 3 amazing daughters and we paid every penny of one daughter’s 12 major surgeries, years of speech and physical therapy, 22 years of braces and so many tennis lessons; She is quite a success and now very happily married and at a first rate job. The other 2 paid every penny of college and graduate school. WOW Lots of blessings. Whew I think at this point of in between, I’d like a great massage!

  12. Your in-betweens has to be what you make them . I love Fatima’s quote ‘Fortune Favours The Brave …how true is that . I’m going to be a big brave bear 🐻 in 2019 . 😀 Such an inspiring post as always Laurie .

  13. I actually like walking around cemeteries and looking at the grave stones. Some may think this is morbid but it makes me appreciate being above ground even when I’m feeling down. I look at the dates of the births and deaths, grieve a little over the young ones and their lost potential, and imagine the older ones had a good life. I always come away with a feeling of renewed purpose, that I must live life to the fullest every day.

  14. Such a brilliant, insightful lead-in Laurie!!

    The in-between time on this front is quite hectic what with my children needing to be escorted around and our own lives quite busy especially in December. 🙂

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