On Breaking Free from Stuckness
I’ve been absent for a while, but I haven’t been idle. A series of events compelled me to change my priorities. I decided to focus on something I’ve been thinking and dreaming about for many years.
I’ll share with you a personal story of finally overcoming fear and facing my excuses. It’s my hope that it’ll help you in breaking free from the pain of stuckness.
A long-lasting denial and struggle
At the heart of struggle is a wish for things to be different. When we feel pain, we have three options:
- Act to alleviate the pain and change the situation, or
- Make peace with the new reality and let go of wanting to change it, or
- Do nothing and continue to struggle.
I was stuck in option three for a long time. I lived in the same house for 15 years. The first few years were exciting. My parents lived close by, so I was able to care for them while still maintaining my independence.
I learned a lot about home ownership. But I never thought I’d stay as long as I did. As the years went by, I started to feel the heavy weight of being responsible for two homes and caring for aging parents.
I craved a simpler life and structure. I kept thinking about it, but didn’t do anything more than wish and complain. It was a daunting task. I was responsible for my family and my elderly parents.
Over the years I’d revive the desire, do some research then drop it. Instead of changing course, I kept pushing through. And I got more stuck as the years went by.
Struggle is a call to realign with our values. We can’t deceive our deepest truths and desires.
Stuckness changes everything
Where you live determines how you live, which in turn colors your experiences and shapes your reality.
I didn’t like where I was. And I felt bad about it. I lived in a nice home and had a good life. But it wasn’t what I wanted. It was too much house with too many demands.
Everything started to feel overwhelming. I even struggled with the activities and work I used to enjoy.
Dread became my default mode. Still, I kept pushing through and trying to force acceptance, which worsened the pain.
Look at life holistically. Pay attention to any life area that’s not working for you. If you don’t do something about it, or make peace with it, you’ll be stuck—for a long time.
A slap in the face
I put up with the struggles of living in two large townhomes and sharing costs with others until reality smacked me with another issue to contend with.
As the homes were getting older, big replacement costs were fast approaching. I looked into how the upcoming costs would be allocated and found that I’d pay more than my fair share. The allocation wasn’t wrong in a legal sense, but it was unfair.
I spent a month digging deeper and sought legal advice, which wasn’t encouraging. Talking with the neighbors didn’t help either.
That was a big blow for me. I felt exploited. I’d used my financial knowledge to help the entire community and felt alone in trying to right a wrong.
Yet, believe it or not, I stayed where I was because I didn’t know what to do—while still dreaming about a simpler life.
If you ignore reality’s whispers and nudges, don’t be surprised when it screams in your face. Life will do whatever it takes to push you to act.
The breaking point
Fast forward a few months and I’d reached my limit with my parents. For the first time in my adult life, I drew clear boundaries about complaints. I didn’t want to hear the same inane grumbling day in and day out. If they don’t like the life they have, they can choose a different path.
I stuck to my boundaries and within weeks my mother decided she wanted to move.
We can’t help people who insist in wallowing in the same misery. It’s our responsibility to set and enforce clear boundaries, if we don’t want to continue to struggle.
The question that changed everything
What am I defending?
A combination of drawing the line about complaints, the growing responsibility for older homes and parents, and the unfair cost allocation compelled me to stop justifying and hiding behind excuses.
I couldn’t defend my situation. And I experienced a tsunami of negative emotions.
The stuckness manifested in apathy and sadness. Thinking about the future amplified anxiety and fear. Circling back to stuckness sparked anger and rage. I was ready to go to war with anyone—myself included.
I allowed myself to feel everything, but didn’t act. It wasn’t intentional. I was exhausted and frustrated. It turned out to be the best choice.
Instead of reacting, or justifying, I accepted the pain and that allowed me to see things differently.
Allow yourself to feel any negative emotions. Then reframe challenges as invitations from life for you to step up and live your truth.
Finally, an aligned intention
As I was preparing for the strata corporation’s general meeting, something came over me … a whisper … a nudge. It was the calm after the storm of intense emotions.
I felt a sense of empowered surrender that I haven’t experienced in years. I decided with a clear mind and assured heart: this is the last meeting I’ll attend.
I was ready to move on.
I didn’t know what I was going to do, or how I’d do it. But I knew things needed to change. And it felt so right.
You’ll never know all the answers—no matter what choice you make. So, why not start with an intention that feels right? Just be willing to follow through when the opportunity presents itself.
One intention + one action = life changing momentum
While I wasn’t sure what direction we were taking, I decided to focus on something I could do right now: reduce and digitize my paper documents. I estimated it would take about three months to complete the project. I planned and started—without any expectations of what’s to come.
From that point on, we embarked on a journey of action that lasted over 11 months. I didn’t think I had it in me. Here is a summary.
- Decluttered files and shredded over 4000 pages.
- Contacted a realtor and committed to listing our home.
- Researched and hired contractors for renovations.
- Completed home renovations then staged the house ourselves.
- Listed the house around the Holiday Season. Sold within a couple of months.
- Moved our belongings in our small car, or by rolling stuff in a cart, in the snow sometimes, without hiring movers.
- Moved from 2000 square feet of space into my parents’ basement of less than 300 square feet, stayed there for over five months of utter chaos.
- Researched and found a place for my parents.
- Got all the legal documents in place to be able to act on behalf of my parents.
- Found a moving company and moved my parents and their belongings. Set up their new services (bank, doctor, insurance, cable, internet).
- Uncluttered my parents’ house (they left behind about 80% of their possessions).
- Renovated my parents’ home.
- Staged, listed and sold my parents’ house in about a month.
- Found a place to live.
- Stayed at different B&B till our new home was ready.
- Moved with minimal possessions and without the need for a moving company to a 560 square feet apartment.
I could write for hours about each action. There were setbacks and accidents (one of which could’ve been fatal). There were injuries and bruises, tears and laughter, doubt and faith. Kept going anyway. Momentum was on our side.
Don’t underestimate the power of an aligned intention and a bias towards action. It won’t be smooth sailing, and you may not know how long it’ll take. Eventually, you’ll get to your destination … or somewhere better.
I still feel like I’m in a dream. Reality hasn’t fully sunk in. For now, it’s a good place to be.