Don't Go Away, Grow Away

I drive by this tree every day. It isn’t like the other trees around it. They grow alongside electrical wires. Not this one. It grows away.

I have no idea if the electrical currents in the wires cause harm to the trees. But this one is growing away from the wires for some reason. I suspect that on some level the tree naturally grows in the healthiest direction. It grows toward what will help it thrive and away from what doesn’t.

We could learn a lot from this tree.

How often do we stay in situations, jobs, or relationships that just aren’t the right fit because we feel there is something wrong with us if we make a change? There is this pervasive myth that we shouldn’t be quitters; that we should just persevere and things will get better. You know, hold onto a teaching job until you get tenure, even though it hasn’t been fulfilling you for years, and what you truly want to do is write. Or stay in the city where you grew up, despite the fact that your heart yearns for a quieter life in the country. Maybe you hang onto a long-term relationship because it is familiar, even though you haven’t been happy in a long time.

You might tell yourself that someday things will be better. But “someday” is a dangerous word. It implies that the option to change our lives is just waiting for us, as if we’ve put it “on hold.” But life doesn’t work like that. Someday doesn’t always come, or we find that it slips away from us in the hectic pace of day-to-day living. If we want our lives to be different – to be better – we have to make “someday” start today.

You might tell yourself that someday things will be better. But “someday” is a dangerous word

So, what if today you start growing in the direction of your dreams, taking concrete steps that will get you closer to the life you truly want? If you’re bored with your teaching job and want to write a non-fiction book, join a MeetUp group for writers in your area, or sign up for a writing class online. Picture yourself on TV doing an interview about your area of expertise. If you’re living miles from where you truly belong, go online today and start looking for housing options, or simply plan a visit to the area and stop by places that are important to you like the local library or theater. Look into local employment options. If your relationships don’t bring you joy, consider whether there is reason to further invest there or if it’s time to move forward. Seek outside help and advice if you need additional clarity and direction.

Grow away from the parts of your life that no longer feel like you. Start today.

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