Feeling Stuck?

Do you feel like this past month you've been in limbo waiting for this crisis to be over and be able to go back to "normal" life?



If you feel this way, you are not alone and no one can blame you. The last few weeks have been extremely challenging. Even those of us that are healthy and are not in the front lines of this epidemic have seen our lives upheaved and at the same time put on hold. But, what if this is not a temporary situation for you but more of a pattern? What if your life has been on hold for a long time, waiting for the next big thing, the earned promotion, the anticipated relationship?

Life is short. Often we come to decision points in life and we postpone making decisions. We give up our freedom to choose because of fear or laziness and other people or events overtake our lives. You cannot put off making decisions indefinitely because one day you will realize time is gone. You will not always have all the answers to know if your decisions are the best but not making a decision may be the worst decision you make.

My father studied to be a priest for many years. Everyone in his family expected him to become a priest and he believed he wanted that life for himself. But after years of preparation and just before he took his final vows, he announced he was returning to secular life. He knew the priesthood was not for him and he walked away despite his and his family's huge financial and emotional investment. It must have been very difficult for him to make that decision and I often wondered if he ever regretted it. Did he second guess his decision? I will never know but it taught me that it is important to know when to quit and when to forge forward.

I tend to always want to move forward. Not doing so feels like a retreat. But, I must acknowledge that sometimes quitting is an option that may turn out to be the best decision you ever made. There’s a saying attributed to the Dalai Lama that says, “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”

I imagine my father being paralyzed by the fear of declaring he did not want to become a priest. The shame of returning home and feeling like a failure for not having accomplished his goal of becoming a priest. But, what if he had continued down that path? He would not have married my mother whom he loved until the day he died. He would not have raised a beautiful family that have gone on to raise their own families. I would not be here today to tell you this story. It was a wonderful stroke of luck that my dad didn’t get what he thought he wanted and instead created another life for himself.

Once when I was convinced that I was ready to quit working and begin a year of travel, I was faced with one of those moments that really test your ability to pivot and make a change. My husband and I had planned to stop working and travel around the United States for a year. We saved for a whole year to be able to do so. We bought an RV and paid as much as we could in advance so we would not have any bills during our year-long travel adventure. We planned our route and were ready to go. Then, I was offered an opportunity to complete the last couple of years of my career doing something that would be very fullfilling for me. The bad news was that I'd have to work in a cold climate and away from all my family and friends. I accepted the job. For months after the move, everyone we met would ask the same thing, “Why?” We asked, why not?

I imagine my father being paralyzed by the fear of declaring he did not want to become a priest. The shame of returning home and feeling like a failure for not having accomplished his goal of becoming a priest. But, what if he had continued down that path? He would not have married my mother whom he loved until the day he died. He would not have raised a beautiful family that has gone on to raise their own families. I would not be here today to tell you this story. It was a wonderful stroke of luck that my dad didn’t get what he thought he wanted and instead created another life for himself.

So many times, we stay in situations not because we like them or because we can’t figure out how to change them but because we are afraid to change. The familiar feels more comfortable even if it feels miserable. We are afraid to make changes and become paralyzed with fear. When faced with a situation like that, we must ask ourselves, what is the worst that can happen? Usually, the worse is not as bad as the situation you find yourself in. It just takes a leap of faith. Closing your eyes and moving forward trusting that at the end, you will survive. For us, making that move felt right. We trusted ourselves to be able to make the move and be fine. It felt right for us and when something feels right, you have to trust your feelings and go forward. What was the worst that could happen, things wouldn’t work out and we would start our trip a little later? A little wiser, a little older, but still the same two people willing to take chances to see what life unfolds.

In my opinion, that is what keeps the world moving. It is why the young succeed and from generation to generation new things are done and the world moves on. Each generation forgets what can’t be done and thinks it is the first to try something. Most likely it is because even if something has been done before, it is never exactly the same. Times change, circumstances are different, experiences and knowledge grow, each generations brings its own perspective and gifts. When we try something new, it truly is new even if it has been done a million times before.

My daughter and her husband are a great example of being willing to take risks. When she graduated, I gave my daughter a small plaque with the inscription, “dive and the wings will appear." I wanted to encourage her to take chances, to go after her dreams. And, she did. One day, she and her husband decided to move to San Francisco to look for new opportunities. They closed their eyes and accepted the challenge to start a new life. It was the best thing they ever did. They moved into a five-hundred-foot studio with their bed inside a closet. Together they faced immense challenges but they forged forward and within a few years my daughter had a successful pre-school business. The pandemic has tested my daughter's resolve to see her business succeed but she has reinvented herself and how she offers her services. Her husband lost his job because of the pandemic and has started a new business. They have faith in themselves and their ability to succeed regardless the odds. My daughter has kept that engraving for all these years. She keeps it on the mantel of the fireplace of her house. I imagine her reading it every time she has to make a big decision that feels scary to her.


So many times, we stay in situations not because we like them or because we can’t figure out how to change them but because we are afraid to change. The familiar feels more comfortable even if it feels miserable. We are afraid to make changes and become paralyzed with fear. When faced with a situation like that, we must ask ourselves, what is the worst that can happen? Usually, the worse is not as bad as the situation you find yourself in. It just takes a leap of faith. Closing your eyes and moving forward trusting that in the end, you will survive. For us, making that move felt right. We trusted ourselves to be able to make the move and be fine. It felt right for us and when something feels right, you have to trust your feelings and go forward. What was the worst that could happen, things wouldn’t work out and we would start our trip a little later? A little wiser, a little older, but still the same two people willing to take chances to see what life unfolds. the odds. My daughter has kept that engraving for all these years. She keeps it on the mantel of the fireplace of her house. I imagine her reading it every time she has to make a big decision that feels scary to her.




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