Do you ever feel like your life just kind of…stops? Like nothing is moving forward, and no matter how hard you try to move the stagnant water you’re standing in, it just won’t budge? 

I’ve had this feeling since the tail end of 2016, and I was hoping that feeling would have subsided on the way into 2017, but lo and behold: I still feel like I’m standing in a puddle full of filth. I’m a firm believer in the whole “you have the power to change your fate” mindset, so I wouldn’t normally find myself lamenting in this feeling. However, I’ve been feeling like I’m firing shots in the dark, hoping to hit some target that I’m completely unaware of.

“I guess that’s just adulthood,” is what I’d normally say, but not when it seems like the young adults around me are moving in what appears to be beautiful streams of the purest waters.

I see friends getting in new relationships, getting engaged, getting married, being blissfully happy in their job, moving to dream locations, and I look at that, wondering what sort of sorcery they performed to make it all go right. I know it mostly had to be hard work and determination, but through what? A blood sacrifice? Is there a “success beyond your wildest dreams” cult that exists that no one has bothered to introduce to me? I’m not one for cults, but there doesn’t seem to be too many downsides to that one! I’ve just gotten to a point where, despite feeling like I’ve done everything right, it doesn’t feel as right as all of their lives appear.

At one end, I want to tell myself that they’re surely feeling the same way I do, and that, though they appear to have it all under control, no one actually has everything under control. Their relationships could be rocky. Their job could be stressful. They might have gone broke on the way to their ideal location. They might regret choices that led them to their life that appears so dream-like, or the journey may have had several rocky moments, or they could have just accidentally created a dreamy facade that convinced everyone that their lives are beyond surreal. As human beings, we learn how to put on a good front to make sure that no one worries about how we really are. Though their lives might appear very “happily ever after,” it could actually be “oh shit, the witch is coming and we’re all going to die.” 

And I suppose, in that sense, I probably shouldn’t complain about my life being stagnant, right? My job provides me with financial security and purpose. Being approximately 70% comfortable with my relationship status is keeping me from committing to a guy just for the sake of having a boyfriend. The state I live in isn’t a complete dump, and though I find it a little uninspiring for my tastes, there are definitely pockets of brilliance in my city that keep me from hating it entirely. 

However, it doesn’t seem to shake the feeling that I’m just stuck in this certain stage of life. I don’t know if this is a sign that I’m in my quarter-life crisis, or if it’s just a phase of thought that will soon pass, but no matter what I do to try and remind myself that it’s not as bad as it seems, it doesn’t alleviate the feeling of stagnation taking over. The only way I feel I can fight it off is with a truly big change in my life. The thing with that, though, is that I’m the one that has to push through the dirty feeling of life standing too still if I want to make that change. 

A life lesson that I always go back to, which may help you if you’re in a similar situation, is that  your life is going exactly the way it’s meant to, even if that means you don’t like where yours is at for the time being. Life seems to throw us anything from dangerous curveballs, to small little bones that keep us holding on to hope. As far as I’m concerned, we have to take those moments and turn them into developments to our character. These developments eventually build onto us so much, that we’ll eventually be equipped to handle anything from life standing too still, to life whizzing by without us noticing.

Though we look at life as this entity that can either be great, or suck really hard, a lot of times we don’t look at how our outlook on it can be subjective. You could have maybe just gotten fired, dumped by your significant other, and forced to move back home, all in one fell swoop. However, if your attitude about it is “I can turn this around with enough determination” instead of focusing simply on how much of a set-back it is, life doesn’t necessarily “suck” in that moment, because you know you know you’re not worried about it. It’s one thing to recognize that a part of your life needs to change; how you approach it is what decides whether or not it will bring you down.

Considering this, my life feeling “stagnant” is nothing I can’t handle. Though it’s frustrating to feel intangible forces stopping me from moving forward, I ultimately have to push past those forces in order to change what I feel is stagnant. I can admit that it won’t be easy, but that doesn’t mean that it has to feel impossible.

2 responses to “Stagnant”

  1. Hi Jeff- great post! I can definitely relate to the feelings you describe. From my experience, I’ve realized that even when doing something that could be perceived as happy/exciting/glamorous, it’s all relative and doesn’t eliminate problems, insecurities, etc that existed before, or suddenly present themselves. Social media is also a factor in all this, allowing us to present an edited version of reality.
    You’re always putting something into motion by what you do, and I know there’s adventure out there for you. I think it’s good to share these feelings and know that you aren’t alone in that. 🙂

    1. Jeffrey Brutlag Avatar
      Jeffrey Brutlag

      Thank you so much, Mikayla! Your insight is always inspiring <3

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