I know I’ve said it, and I’m pretty sure you’ve said some version of it. “I just feel stuck right now.” Well, snap out of it, dumb dumb! Unless you are literally on giant fly paper, that phrase doesn’t mean anything.
When I graduated from college, I was filled with optimism and big dreams. I was going to, without question, be on SNL and have at least 7 million dollars in the bank within 5 years. Obviously.
If you are an adult, you understand by now that things don’t happen that way in real life. Nope. Never. Life sucks, and then you die.
Not really. I mean, we will all go through times in our lives when life does suck and we all do eventually die, but there are some good things in there, as well! Successful people are the ones who remember through the struggles, that success is still possible. The key: adapt.
I’m now 27 years old. I am not on SNL. I do not have 7 million dollars. What I am is a single mom of two. Yeah… Life… But I am not a failure. I have a great job at Lamp Post Group; I still do standup comedy; I have a comedy podcast (debuting soon!), and I get to teach two little ones how to be people! I’ve adapted, and now I am going to help you do the same.
For too long I dwelled on what I was missing out on. Everything changed for the better, though, when I decided to start paying attention to my actual life rather than constantly being preoccupied by some imaginary life I could be living.
And that’s where the three steps to overcoming being stuck come in. They are as follows:
- Come to terms with the things you cannot change.
- Identify your goals
For me, I had to come to terms with these things:
- I’m in Chattanooga for the long-haul.
- I have to make money. (I am not a twenty-something vagabond who can couch surf and take a bunch of well-lit Instagram pictures that make homelessness look enchanting.)
- I have to have a house, a car, and health insurance to pay for the buckets of antibiotics my disgusting children require.
Then I had to identify my goals:
- I want a stable job doing something that I believe in.
- I want to be able to pursue my creative projects.
- I want to be a friggin’ great mom.
Now, what about you? What are the things out of your control? What are your goals?
(parenthetical pause for you to answer these questions.)
Now to strategize your next steps:
- Define your priorities
- Don’t compromise
- Except the things you have to compromise
Defining the real priorities is essential because in real life not everything can get done. At least not all at once. Let your current situation guide your priorities right now.
Since pursuing some major career as a comedian in NYC wasn’t an option for my life, that did not make the priority list. The priority became finding a stable job that I was passionate about. I would not compromise on that. I can only be happy if my job fulfills me in some way.
To afford that kind of pickiness, I had to compromise elsewhere. I had to accept the fact that I would have to be willing to work as a server or an Uber driver or a freelance web dev (I know some web dev. Highly recommend learning those skills) to get by while searching for the ideal job.
Another priority was being able to partake in creative projects. To achieve this, I put time in my calendar every week to work on a comedy podcast, writing a short film, and writing stand-up for regional comedy clubs. The time I set aside for these tasks is focused purely on these goals. I don’t compromise.
To find that time, I had to compromise my vice: watching Netflix documentaries and comedy specials. When I’m tired and my kids are finally asleep, its easy to fall into a Netflix stupor. But nay! If creative time is on the calendar it’s happening! Sorry, Netflix!
Finally, my most important priority is spending quality time with my girls. This means setting aside time every day that I have them to focus on playing/reading/choreographing not-lame-at-all mother-daughter dances. No compromising.
To make time for this, though, I had to compromise having a clean house all the time. If daily playtime means the dirty dishes stay in the sink all night because I run out of time, so be it. Again, not everything can get done. You find what you’re willing to compromise and what you aren’t, and you stick with it- even if it gets a bit smelly.
This life I live isn’t what I ever imagined for myself. Being an adult requires way more planning and sacrifice than I thought it would. I have to say, though, that all the effort that goes into a single day makes the accomplishments feel that much more gratifying. Don’t get me wrong. This is all a big pain in the ass, but no one said life wasn’t going to be a pain in the ass.
Make that pain count for something.
This post was written by Katlyn Whittenburg, the Social Media Manager at Lamp Post Group. You can follow her on Twitter, if it feels right. And stay up to date on what we are doing! Follow us on: