How to Get Out Of A Rut
For the last few months, I have been the definition of the word ‘fine’. Not good. Not bad. Just fine.
Life very much just feels like existing and whilst I have been through phases like this before, particularly when work gets quiet, what has been different this time is even work hasn’t been interesting to me. Have you ever just woken up with a slight sense of dread for the day ahead? Have you ever felt just utterly bored by your own life? Or woken up on a Monday already looking forward to the weekend?
I started feeling like this a few months ago and it terrified me. As a life coach, I know that you only feel this way if you aren’t being fulfilled but what I couldn’t understand was that nothing had changed. I was in the healthiest relationship I have ever been in, we were moving at a gradual but healthy pace, my third book was about to come out with the fourth already on its way and the week before, I was in awe at how full and incredible my life was. So how was I suddenly bored, unfulfilled, and feeling just so flat?
So I did what I always do when I feel an incoming identity crisis.
I called my life coach Michelle Zelli.
And yes, every life coach has a life coach. Or at least they should. Practice what you preach and all that.
She said that my life values had changed. It was just a coincidence that I am turning 30 this year but she asked me to look back at when I entered my 20s to who I was now leaving this decade behind. 20 year old me was hungry, intense, full of drive, and also quite insecure, heavily dependent on attention and external validation, and defined herself by her friendships. She wanted to be the best, do the most, and would drop anyone who stood in her way. Her career was her focus, she wanted to make her mark and she thrived off the constant hustle of being on the go. This came with a downside though: constant illness, deep lows whenever work quietened and a lot of feelings of never being good enough. Her idea of hell was being alone. Quiet time was not her friend and so when that silence would creep in, she would create some drama to inject intensity into her life because chaos was her norm.
Now leaving my 20s, I want quiet, peace, and calm. I’m softer and I’m more loved than I could have ever imagined, mainly because I learned to stop chasing it and be more open to receiving it. I’m kinder, more patient and a better communicator than I thought was possible. I’m more selfish in that I don’t concern myself with business that is not mine and I’m boundaried so I no longer litter my unsolicited opinions everywhere. I want work to be a piece of the pie, not the whole pie.
21 year old me was on a mission to prove everyone wrong - and she did! But what now?
The first order of business was a re-do of my life values. Respect, appreciation and attention were being swapped for calm, contentment, and peace. I took this to my life coach and she explained that the loss of intensity, drama, and chaos will mean that calm, contentment and peace may feel a little boring. She reminded me that whilst I remember me thriving off that intensity, those high highs would come with crushing lows and that how I lived previously was unsustainable. She asked me a question “Would it be possible for me to give myself a little time for the ‘new me’ to settle?”. She went on “she will eventually know what she wants and how to make that happen, but is it OK for right now to not know the answers?”
So that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few months. I don’t have any big-picture plans but the only thing I know right now is that if I wake up with one plan, that helps. This newsletter was one of those plans. Another piece of the puzzle came in late November as I was visiting my sister in Portugal. Her husband was in the front of the car with my boyfriend when I overheard him say ‘Michelle would never move’ and that was true, but I wasn’t so sure it was anymore. After all, when your life values change, what you know to be true often changes too. When we got out of the car, I said to him that if we did move, where would he want to go? As a result, I’ve realised the only conversation that truly excites me is the prospect of moving. I have no idea if it will actually happen but that’s another clue to figuring out my future. And then last week, I did my first event since the pandemic and it was the first job that I have truly felt alive. I got the high that I used to get when doing my job and came home grinning ear-to-ear and announcing to my boyfriend “I finally feel like me!”
Only to wake up the next morning and feel that dread worse than before. It was like a crash. I’d had my hit and now I had the hangover. Then I realised what my life coach was saying about my previous highs and lows. Somehow in my early twenties, I had normalised these intense high-adrenaline moments to be my neutral and therefore, my neutral felt like a low and the drop from those ceiling-level highs felt like a comedown.
I’ve tried to relearn how to view it. Instead of seeing it as a rut, see it as a hibernation period. Instead of seeing it as boring, see it as calm. Instead of seeing it as flat, see it as neutral. I still don’t have answers, but I have glimmers of curiosity and maybe that’s enough for now.
Lots of love,
Have you ever felt this way? What did you do when what you were looking for in life changed? Have you come out the other side?
Let me know in the comments!