You wake up, tired, longing for more sleep, but cannot afford to hit the snooze button one more time.
You shuffle down the hall, to your messy kitchen, trying to ignore the dishes from last night as you make a pot of coffee in order to fathom preparing for the day.
You stare at the dripping dark roast, unable to even consider moving until you have had at least one cup.
However, there is no time to sit and savour said cup, so you haphazardly drink and rush around, getting ready for your day. You shout at your family, throw on some clothes without really thinking, put together some sort of a meal to eat at a job you really do not value and in the back of your head know that you will have to do this all again tomorrow.
That is really the worst part; knowing that this pattern repeats itself again and again and it has clearly lost its lustre for you.
You are in survival mode and it sucks. Survival mode is nowhere anyone should live for very long. A day, a week, hopefully, at most a month, but survival mode is not a place where one can grow, be grateful or great.
When you are in survival mode you are constantly fighting the urge to ease temporary pains while ignoring the potential for long term growth.
When you are in survival mode sometimes your biggest battle is trying to fight the urge to order takeout, which you cannot afford, financially or physically, but it is one of the hardest urges to ignore by the time you finally finish your workday.
When you are in survival mode you forget to find the joy in each day, because you are barely aware and present with what is happening around you at all.
When you are in survival mode you are not going to the gym and the idea of going to the gym in the future is too exhausting to even consider.
When you are in survival mode, you cannot be a good partner, child, sibling, friend, colleague or boss because your focus is solely on survival.
When you are in survival mode you are not your best self for anyone and most importantly, you are not being good to yourself at all. You spend all of your energy trying to escape your reality, which is exhausting, and the effort of avoidance makes your life even more complicated and problematic.
The hardest part of survival mode is getting out of it. The longer you stay in survival mode the more roots you embed into the negative space. Survival mode can easily become your normalcy if you allow it.
We all know people who live their entire lives in survival mode. Whether it is living paycheck to paycheck, jumping from one bad relationship to the next, staying in a really shitty relationship for far too long, if not forever, or staying in a dead-end job or unfulfilling position for far too long, if not forever as well.
Life is extremely short, but the environments we place ourselves in can feel unbelievably, and torturously long when they are not fulfilling. Think about how long a dull evening can drag on for when you are lonely, depressed, or unmotivated, sitting in front of the television, eating shitty takeout and just waiting for an appropriate hour to approach, so that you can escape the blandness and just go to bed.
“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.”
On the other hand, when life is going well and is positively challenging, it seems to fly by. You hardly seem to be able to fathom where the time goes in the day because you feel valued, challenged and happy. Happiness makes seconds surge ahead much faster than they possibly should and that is an amazing feeling, the feeling of a full life.
The best possible advice you can take when you are in the rut of routine and not appreciating the value of your time in life is to change one small thing each day. Keep changing one negative aspect of your life each day, building one experience upon the next, until one day you wake up and realize that you are actually living a life that you appreciate. That you are living a life in which you feel valued, loved and useful, not simply to other people, but most importantly to yourself, first and foremost.
When you are stuck in the mundane you simply cannot magically change every issue in your life with the swoosh of a magic wand. Life does not work like that and life takes a lot more consistent effort. Start small and smart for success; take one small step in the right direction today, not tomorrow or at the start of a fresh week, but today, to change the course of your life.
“Become addicted to constant and never-ending self-improvement.”
― Anthony J. D’Angelo
That is the key to happiness, success and daily joy: consistent effort. You cannot magically become the person you aspire to be overnight, but you can change a facet of yourself, piece by piece, day by day. Changes that stick and actually last require habitual change.
If you feel, believe or know that your life sucks and is not where you want it to be, bitching about it for another second is not going to help anyone. The only thing that can help is small, conscious, consistent changes that move you in the direction of the person you aspire to be. The goal itself cannot also be perfection because that too will send you in another direction of peril. The goal should be a better version of you than yesterday, nothing more, nothing less.
Some days you will meet this goal and other days you simply will not, but as the days of success start to surmount, you will realize that the bad days are fewer and fewer. The light will slowly start to creep into your days. All of your days will not be shiny and rosy, but you will start to see the light in each day. As the days start getting brighter and brighter, there will be days so full of light that you can hardly dim it down to get some rest at the end of the day. Those are the days we work so hard to attain and when you have those days, days filled to the brim with challenges, love and meaningful connections never forget to say thank you.
When you are in a rut, quit lamenting about it, stop feeling sorry for yourself, resist the urge to find someone else to blame and simply start looking within. Look within for simple solutions to seemingly large problems.
Can you not get to work on time? Try and wake up thirty minutes earlier and go to bed thirty minutes earlier to compensate.
Can you not get your house in order? Try and spend fifteen minutes each day after work cleaning. Put on a timer, and simply do as much as you can for fifteen minutes–you might amaze yourself.
Can you not get your finances in order? Pick one thing you can stop spending money on that is a luxury and find a solution for it. If you buy a cup of coffee each day on the way to work, buy a travel mug and start making a fresh mocha in the morning before you leave the house.
Can you not find the joy in your relationship? Find the time to sit down with your partner and focus on one issue you are having and creating a solution to said problem together.
You are not going to turn everything into a lustrous success overnight, but you know that happiness requires patience, so be patient with yourself and give yourself the space and time to become the person you know you are truly meant to be.