155: Don’t Get Stuck

155: Don’t Get Stuck

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I just got back from a week-long road trip through five states with friends to help them out with some things for a business they own. That sentence alone is weird to say, because hey, do you want to leave the farm for a week and go someplace you’ve never been and learn how to do some stuff in a sort of baptism by fire kind of thing is not normally something I would have said yes to.

And yet I did it.

I left the farm in the care of my capable sons, and I got in a Passat filled with road trip snacks and good people. Now, on most adventures, I like to know what’s happening, but this trip was kind of a hang on and see what happens type thing. We didn’t know where we’d be staying, we’d just find a hotel when we decided to stop on the various legs of the adventure. I had a huge bag full of clothing because I didn’t know what kind of clothes I’d need.

I’m an up at 4 am, in bed by 8 pm kind of person. On this trip, we didn’t even eat dinner until 9-10pm. It was rare to be in bed before midnight.

I don’t care for water—weird because I live in Minnesota, land of thirty bazillion lakes. More accurately, I’m usually fine with being on water, I just don’t like being in it because…sea monsters. I don’t even own a swimsuit. But I found myself at a Walmart in some town buying a suit so I could hang out in the hot tub and the pool.

We went to a Hibachi place. I didn’t even know what Hibachi was when we walked in.

I ordered different coffee than I normally drink. I didn’t write anything at all. I read a book on my phone because I forgot my Kindle. I learned to do some work I didn’t know how to do and used muscles I forgot I had. I met some really amazing people. We woke up every morning and said, “what day is it and what state are we in?” because it was hard to keep track.

And all the while during the trip, one phrase kept going through my mind: don’t get stuck.

Don’t get stuck

Or maybe I should say that I was thinking about how often people do get stuck.

We like to be comfortable. We like to go with what we know. We like to talk to people who are just like us. As teenagers/young adults we are told to go out into the world and experience things, meet people, etc. And at some point in adulthood, we stop doing that. We settle into what we know and what we like and what makes us feel safe and comfy and known. And there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that. We work for that, right? 

But don’t get stuck.

Be open to adventure. Be open to doing something different. Be open to saying yes, just because. Be open to considering doing the thing, even though you’ve got some reasons to say no.

Coming off of our road trip we were then invited to be part of a last minute surprise birthday party where we got to experience raclette grilling for the first time AND we got to set up a gender reveal for another couple in attendance that involved some colored powder and a military truck.

We could have stayed home. But we didn’t. We couldn’t stay for the whole thing because my husband had to work that night and I had a garden that needed some serious watering, but we stayed for part of it.

Don’t get stuck.

Now in full disclosure, there was one thing I realized about myself on the road trip that threw a bit of a wrench into the game. I realized how much time I spend alone on a normal day and how much I value that time. On this road trip, the only time you were alone was if you had to use the bathroom. So seven days of hard core peopling had me on the internal struggle bus for a chunk of time. It had nothing to do with the people I was with, it had to do with me and the fact I spend a LOT of time alone. But if anything, the hard core peopling taught me to be appreciative of how much alone time I normally get and the way my normal every day life is set up.

Sometimes we lose perspective when we get stuck.

Make friends with people who are different from you. Drive a different way home. Say yes to the thing you normally say no to. Say no to the thing you normally agree to do. Step into the new stage of life. Eat the dish you can’t pronounce. Admit you don’t know something and be willing to learn it. Wear the bright colored jeans. And stop missing out on things because of what people might think.

Now that I’m in my 40s, I hear a lot of women say how fun their 40s are because they stopped caring what people thought of what they did. They finally felt like they could be themselves. They finally felt like they could do what they wanted. They felt like they’d finally grown into themselves.

And I’m not sure what is magical about 40, but it feels to me that it’s a time when people figure out there’s a difference between comfort and being stuck.

When you look at your life, consider there is a line between being comfortable and being stuck. That line is going to be different for everyone, but there is a line and you should know where it is. If you’re at the point where you’re just existing until you die, you’re on the wrong side of the line.

Don’t. Get. Stuck.

Experience life until you no longer can.

— Amy Dingmann, 6-15-21

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Sheep with its head stuck in a fence

1 thought on “155: Don’t Get Stuck”

  • Love hearing you share your thoughts. I doubt you and I agree on everything – thank goodness, because wouldn’t that be boring!?! But you so aptly express many of the thoughts that I ponder and you make me ponder some things I haven’t before. Loved this podcast because it brought to mind something from our son’s childhood. When he was young (he’s now 22, graduating college and about to launch into his first “real” job) he would repeat the same litany at bedtime every evening and it went as follows “Good night, I love you. Turn the hall light off when you’re done with it and don’t get stuck, but if you do, I’ll come and help you.” We never knew what the “don’t get stuck” part meant and when this started at around age 2 1/2 he couldn’t verbalize those thoughts for us. I recently asked him what it was all about and he doesn’t remember why he used that phrase. However, it is still near and dear to our hearts. Whenever he reaches a milestone such as first night at college, first night in off-campus housing, etc. dad and I always call or text and end with that little litany. He will soon move to an apartment in a city 90 miles away and I know how the text will end that first night he’s there. We’ve always loved the quirkiness of it and even more, the generosity of spirit. It’s our way of saying that if you hit a snag and need support or a gentle nudge, we’ll be there for one another. I have friends like that too. People who hold me accountable, challenge me to be my best self, love me warts and all. What a lovely thing to do for one another! Thanks for the podcast and reminding me to stretch and “unstick” myself.

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