Stalling Out and Waking Up

Not too long ago, my husband and I were driving down the road.  Just a routine trip to the grocery store and halfway there the car just stops.  Pfft.  Done.  We were going 55 miles per hour and then we weren’t.  We were pulled onto the side of the road at the driveway to a Walmart.  We made a few phone calls to local tow companies, found one and then sat back to wait.  And it was kind of FUN.  All of a sudden I noticed things about this road I had been up and down many times before.  I had a chance to look at all of the trash cluttering the roadside.  I saw the trees in the Croatan National Forest.  I noticed that this Walmart wasn’t a full Walmart, just what’s called a “Neighborhood Market” whatever that means.  We sat there long enough to really take it all in and think, how did we get here?

broken-down-car Our stalled car is a great metaphor for life.  So often we get caught up in the routine and the mundane.  The wake up, go to work, come home, dinner and bed routine.  And over and over again.  About 10 years ago I remember having a feeling not too different from sitting in our stalled car on the side of the road.  One day I woke up and thought, how the hell did I get here?  From the outside everything probably looked great.  I lived in Hawaii, I was with my fiance, I had a great job doing what I had gone to school for.  I had just bought a new apartment in beautiful Kailua, we had our new puppy, Titus.  I was meeting new people.  But inside I was falling apart.  The routine had brought me to a place of being extremely overweight, I was drinking several beer every evening while I watched TV and made a crappy dinner.  Nathan and I weren’t leaving the house much.  And my job in a non-profit company was slowly sucking away my soul.  Too much work for too little appreciation, monetarily or otherwise.

I looked around me and it was like I had finally taken a minute to really look around.  I started to notice things that I hadn’t before.  Things that had become so routine that I had missed them.  Little things, like the fact that the crumb catcher under the toaster needed to be cleaned, or that I didn’t have to keep putting my coffee maker in that same corner.  I started to hone in on the present moment and notice a lot of things that I had essentially been ignoring.  I had to admit to myself that I was unhappy.

I look back at the person I was then, and I give her a lot of love and a lot of credit.  There was so much unseen stress that she was dealing with.  I wish I could reach back and give her a huge hug.  A lot has changed since then.  If I hadn’t taken the time to start looking at my life, at the reality of the world, I might not be where I am today.  I might still be at that non-profit job, because they always said they needed me.  I might never have started to get supervision for my license.  I might have let myself stay very, very small.

When was the last time you took a look around?  Took the time to see the things you love and notice the things that you would change if you had the energy for it?  I encourage you to take the time right now.  Take a deep breath or two.  Look away from your screen.  Look around you.  Do you like what you see?  If not, don’t wait, now is the time for change.  Pick one thing that you can do right now, get off the computer or phone and do it.

If you’d like a little help, there’s a group of motivated individuals in the same spot you are right now.  Let’s make some changes together.

Jumpstart Your Life

Author: Mary Preston, LMFT

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Life Coach. Through dealing with my own anxiety and attention difficulties over the years I have discovered many useful practices and tools to help regain focus, shift my attention to what's important and to stay organized enough to get the life that I want. In my practice I work primarily with women and children with Anxiety, ADHD and Depression and I share what I've learned to get them back on track to living a full, purpose filled life.

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