Contrary to Advice, It’s Okay to Stay Stuck for Awhile

If I see another blog post telling me how to get unstuck, I’m going to pull my hair out. Every lifestyle blogger has a custom remedy to get you unstuck and back on your way. But I say it’s okay to stay stuck for awhile.

Part of the problem with feeling like we have to get unstuck is that it psychologically suggests we’re not willing to accept the present. And if we can’t accept the here and now, we’ll never be happy or satisfied.

I’ve Been Stuck for Years

I’m not going to tell you how to get unstuck because I’ve been stuck for years.

  • I’ve worked at the same college for almost 20 years.
  • I’m a single dad and have a court-order to stay in the same town until my kid turns 18. (I could move, but only with permission from the court, and a pissed of teenager and ex-wife.)
  • I haven’t been able to write a song with words and melody in a couple of years.
  • I’ve put off starting on a new book project for a couple of years.
  • I’m still a green belt in karate.

I’m stuck! And there are days I feel like shit about it, too. I pout about poor me and this crappy situation I’m in. My nose is often stuck on my computer, screen looking at dream locations for when I’m unstuck. But what the fuck am I accomplishing by feeling sorry for myself? Nothing.

Instead, the better option is just to accept my current stuck-ness and take little steps to solve problems that keep me stuck. In fact, that’s probably my only choice, unless I want to quit my job, lose my health insurance, cancel my retirement account, leave my kid with her mom, and move to Northern Maine to become a broke poet. Believe me, some days I’m tempted.

It’s Okay to Accept Being Stuck for Awhile

Somebody once said that the only thing that’s permanent is change. This means that you won’t stay stuck forever. But if some things are out of your control, you have to accept them. Otherwise, you’ll appear to be the one out of control.

For me, the hardest thing right now is my wanderlust. I want to move from where I live, but I can’t. Not yet. At least not without creating other problems.

As for songs and books and black belts, I have two things to say:

  1. I don’t care: I’ve accepted the idea of never writing another song or book again. I look at karate as a means within itself. I don’t need to wear a black belt to prove anything. That said, I’m not giving up on any of those endeavors. Chances are high that I’ll write many more songs. And there’s a fair chance I’ve got more books in me, too.
  2. I know things happen in their own time: As an artist, I’ve learned that forcing creativity doesn’t usually work. Practicing creative drills that can help move you toward getting started is okay, but brute force is not for art. Staying stuck for awhile allows us time to work through physical, conscious and unconscious blocks.

Be Happy, Things Could Be Worse

We need to remind ourselves of this once in awhile. I have all that I need. Would I like some parts of my life to be different? Sure, I think most everybody does. But instead of dwelling on the problems that cannot be immediately fixed, what if we focused on what we have going for us.

I don’t know what you’re going through right now. Your situation might be total shit. But I talk to homeless people every day that have more gratitude than many of us. And they have it pretty bad.

So next time you feel stuck, don’t be too quick to try to get unstuck. Maybe you’re where you need to be for awhile.