Is It a Rut?

Okay so… in the first place, how do you know if you’re in a rut?

Firstly, let’s define ‘rut’. In a manner of speaking, a rut is intended to mean a groove that you are struggling to drive out of, if you are trying to escape at all. For the purposes of this blog, it might be a life situation that you find yourself in that is less than desirable, or a state of mind that you cannot shake. Whether it be one or more of these possibilities, it is either something that sinks you into a static depression, or kickstarts your innate ‘fight or flight’ drive. In other words, there are those who remain stuck in a groove all their lives, and always ‘mean to’ do something refreshingly different, but who never actually do, because ‘the time is never right’. One of my friends who also was a caregiver constantly said, “oh, as soon as another job comes up, I’m leaving this place!”

Thing was, she’d worked there for donkey’s years, and will probably stay there till she retires.

Examples of this sort of doggedly putting-up-with-a-situation-that-you-hate abound in human life. And there will always be sensible reasons for us doing so. Lack of sufficient income, kids to feed, bills to pay, etc. Yet we pine after those who were brave enough to make changes to their lives, and who are now happy as a result. Evidence of this is everywhere. The Internet is a wonderful thing – everyone tells everyone their life story! While this might be frowned upon, it is a great tool for self-education and learning from other’s mistakes. It will always be true that no great things were achieved without sacrifice. Changes are not made in a day. Success takes time and effort, however you choose to define it. Basically, you’ve got to do the hard yards first.

That being said, plan your work, and then work the plan. So you’re in a rut. You feel under-utilised, over-worked in a situation you hate, trapped in a bad working or personal relationship, whatever the case might be. The list is infinite. Will you stay there, like an animal in a trap, or will you take your life in your own hands and accomplish what you were born to?

You are?

Great!

What to do next?

Let me give you an example from my own life. For many years I worked as a hospital assistant, here in New Zealand. I needed the money, being first of all a poor Arts student, and then a poor Nursing student. For six years in total (a long time in my book) I put up with back breaking lifting, (although striclty speaking you are not allowed to lift in NZ resthomes, but please – as if hoists and slippery-sams are all that easy to operate? Talk about cumbersome!) cleaning all manner of human waste, and being faced with a decrepit and thankless form of human nature. The pay was a joke. Most importantly for me, I was waking up each day dreading getting out of bed and going into a job I absolutely hated. I hated every minute of it, from the time I arrived to the time I left.

To be fair, Nursing was not what I really wanted to do with my life. It was a poor decision, in any case, to decide to become a nurse. Since I was little I loved to draw and write, and was fascinated by Ancient History and Mythology. The possibility of exploring other worlds in the distant past was always something I was waiting to grow up to be able to do. Sadly, when I did grow up and leave high school, I was stuck in a very narrow-minded bubble; I was advised to get a degree – it didn’t seem to matter to my so-called advisors what degree it was, just as long as it was a piece of paper saying I had completed study at Tertiary level. Why a degree? To get a job, of course. Doesn’t matter if you hate it! We need to have a guaranteed income in our day and age, when jobs are scarce. There are always jobs in the Nursing Profession – therefore, away to Nursing School I went.

My Reader, let me tell you, that was the stupidest piece of advice I’ve ever heard in my life. And my following it was the dumbest thing I could have ever done.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with Nursing. I admire nurses with every fibre of my being. For me, though, it was this poor decision that sparked a desire to make some drastic changes in my life. Cleaning all that poop whilst caregiving made me recognize that the reason I was unhappy at that job was because in it I was not utilising my full potential. I knew my talents, but wasn’t using them. This was what made all the difference, I realized. I firmly believe that it is important to work in a field that you enjoy. Here’s my reasoning: you spend no less than eight hours of a day, often more, at your job. Why not do something you love? I lately watched “The Making Of” Appendices to my “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy set, and what struck me as being particularly inspiring, was the way Sir Peter Jackson and his team looked so happy about their work. They seemed up-beat, motivated, and full of energy. “These people truly enjoy what they do,” I thought to myself, “so why shouldn’t I?”

So, I am now doing what I always wanted to do – write. 2013 has marked a new era for me. It’s the year I come into my own as a writer and artist! It’s my time to perfect my craft. Hopefully one day soon I will earn money doing it.

I am fully aware that there are many ‘realistic’ people in the world who will condemn such a radical idea as this. On the phone today to a customer service operator, I said (rather blithely), “I’m going to earn money doing what I love!” To which she replied, sarcastically, I thought – “don’t we all?”

I find her lack of faith sad. Don’t you, My Reader? Look around at the people in life who inspire you. Look at those whose lives you envy. They seem happy to go to work, and seem to do well both in their working and personal lives. They love where they’re at in life, and so on. I bet it’s because they enjoy what they do.

From the example of my own life you can see that I took the first important step: I firstly realised I was in a rut. I came to understand that I was unhappy because I was not doing what I was born to do, quite simply. Maybe you too, have an urge to write, sing, act, study volcanoes, be a zoo-keeper, whatever. Maybe you’ve got the potential to be a brilliant scientist but are stuck in a relationship where your ‘significant other’ refuses to encourage you or give you the chance to explore the amazing possibilities of your talent.

I repeat: Whatever the case might be, your life is what you make of it. We all build and tailor our lives. The couch potato, as obvious as this statement is, has made himself into such. How? Perhaps boredom led to television-gazing, maybe for an hour every evening after work. That soon turned into whole days during the weekends. Maybe now he is in a state of such passivity that he has no drive for life except to relax in front of the screen. Life’s too exhausting anyway, and it’s easier to watch adventures than have them. Before long he has no life outside of the flat screen.

– You get my point.

Take the time to sit back, brainstorm, and think about how you got to where you are now. More than likely your present unhealthy habits or way of life have taken years to form. You can’t rewind the clock, but you can start afresh. Start today, right now, to forge new habits that will help you to accomplish what you want to, to lead a fulfilled life.

Tiny steps…

More later. Share your thoughts below…

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