Paulo Coelho (who I’m not really a fan of, but I must say the guy is very quotable) wrote this essay called Closing Cycles. He says: “One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through.”
I’m kind of there. I’m past the big three-oh mark, and I’m not anywhere near where I thought I would be at this point, but that’s done, and this is what I have. I’m at the point where I’m just getting rid of all the excess baggage so I can move lightly to the next chapter. The way I see it: being stuck is an option, not an endpoint.
But it sure is hard to move out of a rut. It’s like finding out you stepped in quicksand. I like how Bear Grylls said that we move sideways and on an angle away to get out of quicksand. So there is hope. And so the best way to get out of a rut is not by the most linear of ways, but rather, sideways and at an angle.
Here’s what I’ve been doing to move out of my rut:
Learn to say a phrase in another language. BBC offers free language courses online (Greek, Portuguese, Chinese, German, Italian, French and Spanish—take your pick). So far, I’ve been making progress with Cebuano, and I can say “would you like some bread” in French, and “THAT’S TOO EXPENSIVE” in Spanish. I’m still trying to figure out how to say something in Gaelic, but we’ll get there.
Set new goals. I suggest you aim for the small, mundane ones. In my case, I went for “clean out my closet,” or “sing Michael Jackson’s Rock With You” to a paying crowd, or “sing with a string quartet” (thanks for this, Manila String Machine) or learn how to read waves so I can surf or jump off a waterfall:
Try something strange. I did this by trying out jivamukti yoga in the Legaspi Park on one sunny Sunday morning, and I even tried my hand at hitting the daily jackpot at foxybingo, or finishing a Sophie Kinsella novel every Saturday. Alright, maybe I haven’t been doing all that well with the Sophie Kinsella books, but it sure does entertain me to try and start.
And you know, maybe, just maybe, by doing all this, I’ll wake up one day and find myself out of my rut.
And even if I don’t, damn, but isn’t life fun?