An earlier version of this blog post was written and available on www.thelemonadelife.me in 2018 (pre-COVID)
I came across this quote whilst scrolling through my Instagram. It felt pretty apt because I’ve started to make some changes in my life which feel really positive and are taking me in the direction that I want to go.
But, it also got me thinking about why I hadn’t got to this ‘place’ earlier in my life, because I’ve had the sense of being ‘stuck’ so many times before. I made some changes here and there, but never really seemed to get anywhere.
I have a long list of reasons (or excuses!) as to why I didn’t follow certain paths. Time constraints, socialising too much, lack of money, lack of energy and motivation - the list goes on! One of the big things that kept me ‘stuck’ from progressing in my life was not being able to say ‘no’. I was always ready to go for that ‘quick’ drink after work, ready to help others out when they needed, to be that shoulder to cry on, or ready to be the person who takes up the slack at work. I kept getting
to the stage where I knew I needed to change my life if I was going to get more balance. And I always did change for a while, until I got back on the rollercoaster of socialising, staying later at work etc.
Some people are happy with that way of life, but I wasn’t. I began feeling burned out and unable to pursue the things I really wanted to do. I had thoughts about doing more in the field of mental health; I wanted to be my own boss; I didn’t want to keep working in environments that were not supportive of employees and a ‘real’ work/life balance; and I wanted to take better care of myself. I finally admitted to myself that I didn’t want to be ‘stuck’ anymore. So I have started making changes that will help me live the life I want, rather than a life that I just have to live.
Looking back, I know that I used my ‘excuses’ as distraction techniques from admitting my fear of jumping into the unknown. It isn’t always easy to change habits, and that sometimes puts people off from moving forwards in their life. It definitely did for me, because I didn’t want to be seen as ‘the boring person who doesn’t socialise’ or ‘the person who doesn’t help out at work’. Sometimes it feels easier to stay where you are because you know what you have and how to deal with it.
There will come a point though, when you realise that your life has to change. It’s a different point in time for everyone. Sometimes it’s when a relationship comes to an end. It could be when you make the decision to leave that unsatisfying job. It could be if you’ve moved many miles from where you’ve lived your whole life. For me, it was just wanting to be more happy and have more joy in my life. Once I started learning how to say ‘no’ and doing more of the things I enjoyed, the easier it kept being to say ‘no’ to things I didn’t want to do. It has made me really value the time that I have to spend with friends and family, or pursue hobbies because I’m not exhausted from doing things I don’t want to. It’s a win win situation!
It is not easy and not everyone around you will get on the ‘new life, new me’ train and join you - it happens! That’s when some people start to give up and go back to their old behaviours and become ‘stuck’ again. But it’s also the time when you have to keep reminding yourself that it will be worth continuing with your goals. And you won’t become ‘unstuck’ overnight. It’s a slow process with a bit of going back and forth, but it is your life, and imagine how much better your life could be if you made the changes you wanted to…