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Alexis Jane Torre Headshot

Coming Unstuck in Time

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"Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time." This quote from Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five has stayed with me ever since I first read the book. This actually kind of surprises me, considering there are so many great and famous quotes from this book (cue the "Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt" quote). But, lately, coming unstuck in time is actually fairly relevant to me.

While I definitely can't time travel and visit other planets like Billy Pilgrim can, I have been working my way out of a rut. I'm not coming unstuck in time as in traveling through time, but in the sense of moving forward. Coming unstuck in time as in no longer staying in the past. Coming unstuck in time as in making the decision to leave a present situation that makes you unhappy. Because being in a rut is feeling stuck in some point in time that leaves you frustrated and unfulfilled, and the only way to get out of a rut is to come unstuck.

It can be easy to fall into a rut without realizing it. First, you just fall into routines that feel comfortable. And, then you somehow end up tired and unhappy with where you're at. And, that leaves you with some tough decisions. Sometimes, you want to stick it out, waiting around for your situation to improve. But, if you find yourself constantly unsatisfied and simply just hoping there will be a moment where everything clicks, it may be time to leave the situation.

It can be tough because we all want to be optimistic, to be persistent, to be willing to stick it out and not quit. But, it is okay to leave a situation, a relationship, a job, etc. that leaves you empty and unhappy. You deserve happiness and fulfillment, and you deserve to make the decisions that you know are best for you.

Now, it may not always be easy to work your out of a rut. Up until recently, I thought that starting over was easy, that getting a clean slate didn't require any work. But, just like anything worth having, a new beginning does take work and tough choices. It isn't easy to let go of a lifestyle that is made up of routines and habits that have become second nature to you. It can be hard to think of everything that you have to let go of. It can even be difficult to be sure if things will work out okay.

As Steve Jobs said in his famous speech at Stanford University commencement, "Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path." This is yet another quote that has stayed with me ever since I heard it. It's a reminder that while we can be scared away by uncertainty, we do know that decisions we want to make, and we should follow what we believe to be right.

It isn't always easy to leave a situation that makes us unhappy because we think we're stuck in this routine and it's too late or risky to leave, or that things will get better if we wait it out. But, I think that we know what decisions are right for us, and we shouldn't hesitate to make them. While we all can't go on time-traveling adventures like Billy Pilgrim, we all can come unstuck in time in a different way. Because we shouldn't be living in our memories of the past or feel like we're unhappy in our present. Because we should learn to leave a situation that only leaves us conflicted and drained. Because we should learn to get out of a rut and make the decision -- no matter how hard it is -- to come unstuck in time.