“You must be the architect of your life and your career. You design it. And if you don’t like it at any moment, renovate!” –Ami Kaplan
Two weeks from today, I will be somewhere between Phoenix and Albuquerque on a 4 day road trip to my new home in Charlotte. For me, this represents a chance to start completely over. I will be in a new place, with new people, in a new job.
I have been in a rut for a long time. It’s been so long, in fact, that I can’t even pinpoint exactly when it began. Ruts develop slowly over time based on repetition and come in many forms. They can form in your habits (i.e. hitting the snooze button when you know you should get up), your thoughts (i.e. negative self-talk), your career, your love life (either staying in a mediocre relationship or continuing to choose the wrong people), and eventually, life in general can become one enormous rut.
My life falls into several of the categories above. I’ve played it safe. I’ve settled. I’ve made the same mistakes over and over again. I am a creature of habit anyway, so rut-running is my bread and butter. The result? I don’t know how to describe it, but the closest I can come to is “spiritual stagnation.” The feeling that I’m not living life the way I should be, that there is so much more out there, and that there is an extraordinary person beneath all of the ordinary trappings of the person I have been who is just dying to be freed and empowered to live an extraordinary life.
So, finally I am seizing the opportunity to renovate. It’s like living in a home for many years that has become run-down and cluttered. It may be comfortable, but it is mediocre. I am clearing out the junk and leveling the place so I can start over brand new and build the house of my dreams. I get to be the architect – to create a blue print of what I want life to be.
“You just don’t luck into things as much as you’d like to think you do. You build step-by-step, whether friendships or opportunities.” –Barbara Bush
Now, it’s clear that most people can’t just drop everything and totally change their lives one day on a whim. Timing is obviously a factor. I have worked hard, often times not even knowing what I’ve been working toward. Personal development is also a factor – even a year ago, there is no way I would have been courageous enough, confident enough, and independent enough to do something like this. I’ve experienced uncertainty, anxiety, and fear…but once I committed to seeing this through, everything has fallen into place effortlessly. The universe isn’t fighting me on this, and I feel more excited and calm in the face of incredible change and the gaping void of the unknown than I have about maintaining the familiar status quo. I’m confident that this is the right decision for me in these circumstances.
Although my rut-busting strategy is drastic, it’s not the only one. A rut is just a well-worn path. All you have to do is take a small step to one side or the other. Whether you are trying to change poor eating habits or move yourself forward in your career, every time you choose not to walk the rut, it becomes a little more shallow and overgrown. But every time you choose to walk the rut, you are digging it just a little bit deeper and entrenching yourself further. I find that putting it into those terms helps me make better decisions when I’m tempted to succumb to my ruts.