Help me out of my rut!

A letter writer feels stuck and wants to move out east. 

Make a plan, says our elder. And remember, you don’t have to move away to start making changes to your life.


Dear EWC

Hello, I am writing to ask for advice about, well, life really. I just quit a job that wasn’t right for me, and I’ve been wanting to move for a long time. I currently live in the same town I have lived in my whole life. I feel stuck and stagnant here, but I don’t know what to do. I’m scared because I want to move out east but I’ve never been that far away from my family. Am I just trying to run away from my problems? Another problem I have is that I don’t really have any real skills. I’ve got an associate’s degree in general studies, I’ve only worked in niche fields within childcare and dog training. The skills I do have are valued in very small circles and not really transferable to a ‘real’ job, a job that could actually support me. I know this Is a lot, but really, I just need some advice on what my next step should be in life, any advice would be greatly appreciated. 


Folk replies

I understand why you want to move. You have lived in the same place all your life and are ready for a change. Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again, and meeting the same people all the time can make us stagnant. This is especially true if the people we are spending the most time with are stagnant themselves. But that said, it doesn’t sound to me like you are ready to move quite yet. After all, it takes money to move, and you just quit your job. Plus, even though you have an associate’s degree, you don’t have any marketable skills that will enable you to get a good job wherever you decide to relocate. So, if you move now, you will be without money and without the support of family in a place far away from home.

Instead of moving now, my advice is to start making plans to move in a year or two. The more you plan ahead for your move, the more likely it is to be successful. Research jobs in the area you are thinking about moving to. Research apartment costs there too. Figure out how much money you will need to move. Get another job, and start saving up.

While you are busy making plans for your big move, you can do things to help you get out of your rut. Start by changing your daily routine. For example, try eating something different for breakfast or striking up a conversation with someone you’ve never spoken to before. Cultivate some different habits, like exercising every day or listening to a new series of podcasts every morning. Participate in your church. Volunteer with a local organization. Or, even engage in political activism. The next time you’re feeling bogged down, try going for a walk. Let go of the thoughts circling around in your brain. Pay attention to the world around you. Allow yourself to relax, think of new things, and enjoy the beauty you see. The different contexts will give you different stimuli, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you. Don’t wait for motivation or inspiration to strike. Just get going.

Part of the reason you may be feeling so stagnant lately is that you are frozen in fear. Deep down, you may want to shake up your life, but your fear may be holding you back. If you aren’t taking any action toward achieving your goals or dreams, you may feel overwhelmed or discouraged. It’s easy to fall into a rut, after all, when it feels like you’re not really working toward anything. If this is the case, I suggest you try breaking down your goal into very small steps and then tackling those small steps one at a time. Do you want to improve your job skills or continue your education? If so, what is holding you back? Taking positive action toward achieving your goals will lift your spirits and give you a sense of purpose. In fact, researchers have discovered that having something to look forward to helps people cope with troubles in the here and now. There is a great deal of power in anticipation. Having something in the future to look forward to – like moving – can give you the motivation you need to get going. You have the power to reshape your life; all you have to do is decide to use it.

I hope this helps. I am always here if you’d like to talk more about this. Please write back if you can to let me know what you decide to do. And if you found this advice useful, we’d appreciate your telling others about our service. Thanks!

Article #: 475521

Category: Self-Improvement

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