Are You Stuck In A Rut? Thumbnail

Life is an interesting mix of phases.  You are born, you hopefully have a great childhood where you can run free and have no worries.  You go to college, get married, maybe have some kids, and then retire at some point down the road.

Each phase in life has its own ups and downs, some of which are out of your control and cannot be planned for.  If you are lucky, you sail through all phases of life with happiness, joy, fulfillment, and realized dreams.  However, life is rarely just sunshine and roses.  At some point, at the very least, life can sometimes seem just plain boring.  I know that as great as my life has been thus far, I have experienced some less-than-fulfilling times in my life.   Let me explain…


I loved being a stay at home mom while my kids were young and hadn’t gone to school yet.  We had the best time, and life was so easy and carefree.  I was OK when my first two kids marched off to kindergarten because I still had a child at home to take care of and keep me busy.  (I admit, I still cried my face off when the older two went to kindergarten, but I got through it.)  But when my youngest headed off to kindergarten, I was kind of lost.  I felt like I no longer had a ‘job’.

My kids were gone for the bulk of the day, which many would see as a dream come true.  It wasn’t my dream though.  My purpose was gone from 8:00-3:00, and I kind of got in a funk.  Not depressed, just blah.  I didn’t fill my days with TV or anything, but I also didn’t get the bigger things accomplished that I had hoped to, like painting and updating some of the rooms in my house.   My boredom was my own fault, and I think it was because I couldn’t find my purpose.

My quest for a purpose went on for a couple years.  Then out of the blue, when my youngest was in second grade, my former employer called me and asked if I would come back to work.  I said I would if it could be part time and I could work from home.  The deal was done:  my career was to be a computer programmer from my couch.


Guess what?  Over time, I fell right back into my rut again.  What was wrong with me?  I had what many would view as a dream job:  part time, good pay, and no commute.  I was able to attend all of my kid’s events, I was able to be home with them in the summer and when they were sick.  What more could I want?  Was I becoming a spoiled brat?

No!  What I realized was that  I just hadn’t found something that I really wanted to do yet.  I was just living life, working for some cash but having somewhat unrealistic expectations of my job.  Pay was fine, my work arrangement was fine.  However, I wasn’t getting fulfillment from my job.  But is that my job’s responsibility?  Not necessarily.  The role of my job is to provide me with a paycheck.  Once I realized that, dissatisfaction from my job virtually disappeared.  I did know though that I wanted to find a job or a hobby I felt passionate about.


In March of 2010, I decided to take the leap and take on blogging.  Writing always sounded fun, but I never really had a ‘platform’.  Traffic did not flow right away, but it did build over time.  Something interesting was happening through my process of blogging though.  I found myself jumping out of bed to start writing and reading other blogs.  When I was waiting for an appointment, I was writing notes on future blog topics.  When I was driving, new ideas just flowed through my head like never before.  I was inspired!

After 43 years, I found a ‘job’  (besides being a mom) that I truly loved.  It pulled me right out of that rut and my blog energized me.  With the exception of getting up to feed a starving child, I never got out of bed as quickly as I do now.  Sure there are times that I feel a little burned out, but then I just take a break for a day and then a new idea gets me going again.


What I have learned from all of this, and my suggestion to anyone that find themselves stuck is a rut, is that you don’t have to just accept boredom.  I have always told my kids that only boring people get bored, yet I didn’t apply that logic to myself.  (I hate to think of how boring I was for awhile!)  It can be hard to realize you are in a rut, and even harder to find a way out.

I was lucky in that my inspiration just sort of happened to me, because seeking it out wasn’t really working for me.  However, I will never let myself fall into a long-term rut again.  If I sense it happening, I will pursue a new hobby.  Maybe I will try to learn piano or volunteer at the nursing home down the street. Regardless, I will always be on the lookout for that something that will get me jumping out of bed in the morning. Maybe in 5 years my inspiration will be teaching basic finance to the underprivileged, who knows.  Life changes and evolves all the time, and your attitude has to evolve along with it.

Don’t just sit there and let life pass you by.  If you find your life boring and unfulfilling, then open your mind and give something new and exciting (to you) a try.  I am not saying you have to change careers, but maybe if you spend an hour a day exploring a new activity, you might just find that something that re-energizes and fulfills you.

Readers, have you ever been stuck in a long-term rut?  If so, how did you get out of it?