If You Feel Stuck, What Can You Change?

Posted By on June 20, 2011

Woman who painted herself into a corner

Over a year ago, my friend Carolyn and I were talking about her recent trip to Colorado. Carolyn, who worked down the hall from me, had just returned from the trip to visit her best friend and said how she much she wanted to move there.

For more people, these ideas are generally shooed away with the “Yeah, buts” of life. Yeah, but I can’t just leave Houston for Colorado. Yeah, but I would need to find a job. Yeah, but I have a child in high school.

Carolyn, being a single mother, had to consider her son Rusty. He was beginning his junior year of high school but had expressed interest in going to college in Colorado. She thought about waiting to move after he graduated.

I suggested she look at the requirements colleges had for establishing in-state residence. Being considered an out-of-state resident would cost more in college tuition. We looked it up and saw the requirements. Reality determined action.

Setting out on my own adventure

Despite her mother’s objections about leaving Texas, Carolyn decided to move to Colorado. She and her son arrived yesterday to begin their new adventure.

So why am I writing about this? First of all, I will miss Carolyn’s smiling face at work. Secondly, I admire her for making such a big decision to change her life. It reminded me of the one I made about 21 years ago this summer.

After finishing college in Oklahoma, I landed a job in Galveston in 1990, and I moved 500 miles away from everything I knew. I was 22 and incredibly naïve about what I had done. I thought that’s what people do when they get a job. My parents were not happy about it, but I was stubborn and determined to go.

When people found out that I moved so far from home, they said I was brave, and I was puzzled by that. Isn’t that what people do? Don’t they find jobs and move away? Heck, didn’t the pioneers do the same thing by hopping into a wagon and heading west? Where would any of us be if our ancestors stayed put and didn’t seek opportunities?

I’ve met lots of people who did the same thing Carolyn and I did, and I’ve also met lots of people who stayed where they were. Such is life. Some of us leave, some of us stay behind.

Having the same complaint is a clue that you’re stuck

What really takes courage is purposefully changing your life. We all have heard people who constantly complain about their lives, their jobs, their relationships or their stuff. Listening to them becomes monotonous and depressing, and if they’re on Facebook, you really want to hide their profile to avoid reading about it.

For me, I can only listen so much before I burst out, “So what are you going to do about it?” I even have had to say this to myself on several occasions when I tire of my own complaining.

Take responsibility for your life: Make a change

There are times in our lives when we become stuck. It’s up to us – not anyone else – to unstick ourselves. Granted, we may need some guidance from a good friend, a therapist or a life coach to do it, but the end result is up to us. We are the ones who have to take action.

To make changes in your life takes courage. Packing up your life and moving to another state takes courage. Choosing to search for a new job takes courage. Deciding to leave a bad relationship takes courage. Choosing to reclaim your life by jettisoning clutter takes courage. To move a mountain takes courage.

And I know, my friends, that each of you has courage to move your own mountains. So I wish bon voyage to my friend Carolyn, who is beginning a new adventure.

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