This week I realised that I have been in a rut. You know what I mean; nothing is wrong exactly but things aren’t exactly right either. I get up, go to work, come home, feel tired and eventually go to bed. Sometimes if I’m not too tired I’ll go to the gym. And on and on it goes. Rut, rut, rut.
The feeling of rut-ness can hit at any time, and leave me feeling stuck in what previously felt like progress. And the thing about a rut is that it can sneak up on you when you least expect it, in an area of your life that previously felt perfectly fine. Let’s take my working life as an example. I am not yet in a position where people will pay me to write full time (that’s right, you’re getting all these words for free; sponsored by no one) so I have to earn a living the regular way with an ‘office job’. Obviously I am well aware that I’m not yet living my dream, and I’ve tried to make peace with that. Then I spent a weekend working on my writing projects, and suddenly the prospect of going back to the office job was even less appealing. Immediately I knew that I had unsuspectingly entered rut-ville (yes, I am going to come up with as many variations on the word rut as I can).
But let’s get into this a bit more shall we, and really explore what a rut actually is. We already know the symptoms; a dull ache of boredom, repetitive tasks that do not elicit the excitement they used to, and a dead behind the eyes look. I may have just described the modern day zombie, which makes my point perfectly. So how do you get into a rut state of mind? Personally mine comes when I accept things I know I’m not 100% happy about. Don’t get me wrong, that’s just life, but accepting it without a plan involving how I will eventually get to that 100% level of happiness, often leads me to pseudo comfort and an eventual mucky rut (ew, that sounds way dirtier than it did in my head).
More of my frustration comes when I awaken to the fact that I’ve been in a rut and know exactly what needs to happen to get out of it, but the rut has taken all my motivational energy, so that I will stay inside of it. Damn you rut! Funnily enough that’s the first real step of getting out of it; getting angry at the rut. It’s been masquerading as comfort, and giving you misleading thoughts that tell you you’re perfectly happy about the prospect of spending the rest of your life wondering lonely as a cloud.
The next step is to take a good look at your surroundings and find some way to also blame it, because where’s the fun in taking it all on yourself? Note: this does not mean that you should blame other people, because you done made your own decisions my friend.
No, I’m talking more about inanimate objects like in the office – Damn you printer and your predictable ways, always getting the job done and fuelling my comfort feelings.
Or the computer – Damn you and your information access, answering every question I had so my mind never wandered enough for me to start to wonder what the heck I was doing with my life.
And the final step (or the first step depending on your optimism and if you don’t want what I’ve written earlier to make any sense) is to GET OUT OF THE RUT. There is no specific way to do this unfortunately; it all depends on the rut and who’s in it. Only you know what you need to do to get out of it, you just need to find the energy to make the change.
I’m trudging along, trying to get out of the rut now that I’ve seen what a citizen of rut-city (one more for the road) I am. But it ain’t easy so if you’re in one too, take your time and don’t be too hard on yourself; it’s called a rut for a reason.
Image credit: sleeping by Hadi Davodpour from the Noun Project