I just crawled out of bed. I went straight back to it. I laid there and just thought “What am I doing?” Maybe you have asked yourself that same thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do. However, I am not as far along as I had hoped I would be at this point in my life. In one of my earlier posts, I touched on this phenomenon of adjusting expectations to actual reality. I want to talk more about the wave of stagnation that can overwhelm us at times and how to overcome it.
In terms of a journey, stagnation is the middle ground between progressing and regressing. Webster-Merriam defines stagnation as a lack of activity, growth, or development. It might not be quite as bad as moving backwards, but it is still a motivation killer. It can be accompanied by feelings of frustration, angst and anxiety. You might be thinking you are not working hard enough or you are inadequate in some way, I know I do.
Life, however, is dynamic by nature. Growth, change and decay are always at place. Your position might not be changing, but you are. Just because you don’t have that promotion, raise, better car or place to live yet does not mean you are not progressing. Allow me to demonstrate a personal example. After graduating with my Bachelors, I struggled with finding a better job. Every job I desired that was more related to my degree, I got turned down for. Many of you might be able to relate to this. All my plans for gaining complete independence went down the tubes. I was stuck working at the same store I had during college. There were family and other personal issues arising as well. I labeled myself a failure and felt totally defeated. The stagnation seemed no better than moving backwards. There seems to be a fine line between the two.
I had an idea though, If I could not land a better job, I could still improve myself. I enrolled in a course at my old community college to continue learning. I stayed active in reading and in creative writing. I kept applying. I didn’t realize it then, but I was moving forward. Being able to grow when everything around me seems to stay stagnant is the mettle of perseverance, which will prevail struggle. When I finally prevailed, it built my hope. I carry that hope when I face new obstacles. Growth has taken place. I encourage you to consider taking a class, volunteering somewhere new or picking up a new hobby during those “stuck in the doldrums” periods of life. You will be surprised how far you end up going on the other side.
“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”
~ Lyndon B. Johnson