Sometimes, It feels like life is stuck in an endless loop. This endless loop is monotonous. We do the same things over and over again, it’s a formula and we’ve learned to stick with us because it seems like it’s “working”. I wake up. I go to work. I work on my other work when I am done with my socially acceptable job. I waste time on social media. And then I go to sleep, and the process continues again. It’s draining.
We are stuck. Not so much because it’s where we want to be, but it is where we are comfortable. But we are not comfortable. We are comfortably uncomfortable. We always hope and dream and pray that something is going to pull through for us, and the sky will open up and opportunity will pour from the heavens like a much needed rain in the draught. We all know that doesn’t happen, but still. We can wish right?
We are stuck. Not so much because we are lazy. Or perhaps, we are. But I believe, all sweeping generalizations aside, people of my age are trying for something. I know so many of my peers who try plan after plan with varying degrees of success. Some of us waver in and out of trying plans, and being complacent. We are never in a state of perfection or determination or realism, or in complete state of depression, complacency, or distraught. We are fluid and changing, our emotions and opinions fluxing through the entire spectrum of ambition like weather patterns on a radar. Our social conditions greatly effect our ability to work and be successful and be clear headed.
We are stuck. Not so much because we aren’t striving for greatness. We all want to do great things. We all want recognition of our accomplishments, however great or small. Many of us just don’t know how to get there. Our traditional means of “go to school” and “get a good career doing something you love” simply doesn’t apply in our current time, the infrastructure and economic environment simply aren’t sufficient enough to accommodate us in that cookie cutter scenario. That isn’t to say it hasn’t been this way before. So many people in the past couldn’t even have dreams or aspirations because they were never even exposed to the notion. We are truly fortunate to live in this time, a time that allows us to live our lives in comfort and stability. But at the same time many of us feel like we are meant for more. That we can do more and be more. And there are ways to do this, but it’s not a straightforward path, it takes a lot of soul searching and literal, physical searching.
Being stuck is a mindset.
It’s has a lot to do, not with what we do, but what we chose not to do. I’ve thought about this a lot. I could be a scientist, or a doctor, or a lawyer. I could be making much more money than I do, I could be very accomplished. But what I am is an artist, a writer, a YouTuber (a terrible one at that), a person who makes smoothies and a person who smiles at you and makes a compliment in the hopes of making your day a little bit better. Not entirely earthshattering stuff. There are a lot of individuals just like me and there are a lot of individuals just like you too. Just because one choses different paths in their career and life choices doesn’t mean they can’t have a high level of spiritual capital. A lawyer could be incredibly passionate about their work, striving to help their clients in the best way possible, and another lawyer could be a completely unpleasant asshole. They are doing the same work, and getting paid the same, but they are not congruent in terms of their spiritual capital. You can be completely miserable as a “successful” person, and completely happy as an “unsuccessful” person.
Choosing not to do anything is perfectly fine. There is no cosmic incentive for us to really DO anything. But it is in the spirit of humanity that we feel compelled to prescribe meaning and purpose to ourselves.
Your mindset and your actions have a lot to do with your state of being. If you think to yourself “I am going to do this great thing, and I’m going to make it happen if it’s the last thing I do” and you stick with it, you’re likely to have a positive outcome, regardless if it manifests itself in a way you predicted. Often these actions are failures, but it doesn’t make them any less important to your journey.
For example, I went to school for fine art. I pictured myself splattering paint in a studio, going to openings wearing all black and eating fancy cheese and drinking wine and discussing the intricacies of social and political atmospheres in the discipline of art. What am I doing now? Designing a video game and drawing a web comic. I help build websites and do a fair bit of networking and researching social trends online. It is entirely different than what I had expected, but it’s turned into something that I love doing, even though it intensive work. So while I don’t get to spend a lot of my time in galleries with prestigious art critics and being praised for my painting series on consumption, I get to play videogames, watch YouTube videos and draw blueprints and design characters and build environments and religions and societies, and I am perfectly happy doing that. I’m also going to be teaching soon, and that is not something I ever imagined doing, in fact, it was something I was trying to avoid at all costs. I have no idea if any of these actions will equal “success” (whatever that means) but I’m quite fond of the old adage, “You’ll never know till you try.”
Sometimes riding the wave of life, and what it is calling you to do, is all that we can do. Nothing about our interests and out wants and our notions is totally known without experience, and often the form of that experience is not what we expect to see.
Being stuck is an absolutely valid feeling. Sometimes it is the feeling of being stuck that propels us to do great things. Stuck can be a good thing. Stuck can be an awful thing. Sometimes feeling stuck is a side effect of our mental health, and sometimes it’s a product of our environment. And I know that the process of getting unstuck is entirely subjective. We all deal with things differently, and I respect that. But since I am writing this post, I am obligated to give my two cents on the topic, and it is all purely out of speculation, but sometimes talking about things can generate good discussion or get us thinking. (It’s part of why I write obnoxiously long things, it helps me process my own feelings as well.)
We are never truly stuck. Time is continuous, and every second is an opportunity to do something. If there is anything I can impart upon you, dear reader, it is that you should never lose your sense of wanting “to do something/ be something great”. I would encourage you to try and try again, whatever that itch is in your life. Throw yourself at the barrier again and again, until it cracks and you can see the light. Reinvent yourself, keep trying new things, keep hoping, keep going. KEEP TRYING. It is so damn hard. It’s the hardest freaking thing. I know. Sometimes getting unstuck is quick, just a turnaround of the mind. Sometimes stuck looks like YEARS. Sometimes it feels like nothing will ever happen, but (and this is another phrase that’s grown on me) “if you never try, you will never succeed”.
The very worst that can come out of it is becoming an old person who never succeeded. But you will be an epic old person who can say “I did all sorts of things. Nothing came of it but it gave me cool experiences.” Maybe that’s a success all to itself. No one measures success the same. What even is “success”? … Exactly.
So friends, I guess what I mean to say is if you feel stuck, stuck doesn’t have you, you have stuck. Stuck is in your mind, and you can throw it in the trash can. If you want/can that is. Stuck doesn’t define you, it’s just a temporary stasis we get the honor of experiencing as human beings.
Thanks for reading, and happy unstucking,