We all stand shakily at many thresholds in our lives. Our periphery tightens, chest constricts, heart beats with a primal desire for safety or surrender. Large or small, personal or professional, these crossroads define us—they deepen us.
I was talking to an industry friend recently about these kinds of moments. The doorways we pause before, the ones that seem to stick a bit more than others, warped by time and expectation. I often forget when standing in front of one of these moments that we all have more shared experiences than not; we all cast a hand up to block the same torrential weather over and over again. We all hold someone tight or wish we did. We are all, at times, a five-year-old child standing on the edge of the dark, unwilling to paint our first step into that shaded other.
This letter is often a threshold. The cursor teeters on the edge of either spilling over into pure emotion or reining back into the thickness of neutrality and self-consciousness. The only thing that gets easier is knowing there is something—for better or worse—on the other side. A becoming, an exhale, a cyclical horizon we step toward—whether we like it or not. Stringing together these moments is the story of our lives, each step and stumble a revelatory beginning to a new moment. Even something as small as this 9 x 12 white page straddles four decades of fears, love, trauma, celebrations, grief, and metamorphosis. This letter is a doorway. And, I admit, some days I have a hard time walking through it.
These emotionally loaded moments look different on different days—and certainly in different decades. Vulnerability has a different texture and temperature than it did at five years old. Our personal narratives can confine us, but more often than not, they can connect us.
Some friends tell me, “It’s 40!” And that makes a lot of sense. I spent my first 10 years finding my footing—quite literally—and the next decade grinding that footing to a halt. I plowed through my 20s without care or concern, fleeting immortal moments, but with a deep desire to write it all down. Then I spent my 30s trying to figure out the first three decades and what these moments all meant, deepening the holes and summiting hills I thought were profoundly unnavigable.
But there is always the other side.
As an industry, I find us in a space like this. The thresholds today, the ones we all stand before, require individuals to step through, but in order to effect change, we need the many—a community—to walk through together. We need to be allies and allied, we need to be uncomfortable, and we need to be at peace inside our discomfort.
Some of those thresholds that mark our path today are equitable and safe work environments, equality, diversity, and inclusion—all ideas shifting into movements and inciting change. Some may call them a revelation and some may call them a reckoning, but they are all thresholds that will define the way people are able to walk through them moving forward. Some of us are, simply, finding our voice.
I hope that you come to trust, over time, that we are here to hear both your experiences and your reckonings, your stumbles and triumphs.
Let your story be a threshold. Now, walk through it.