feeling stuckIf I were a car my gas gauge would be flashing “empty.” Or I’d be hoisted up on a mechanic’s lift spinning my wheels.

Get the picture? I’ve got a bad case of being stuck in place.

There’s no point contemplating my navel to discern the cause. Nothing major will be found. Then why the inertia?

“Maybe it’s the winter blues,” a friend suggests. “Or post-election depression.”

Maybe. But I know myself well enough to understand that those theories, while plausible, aren’t the whole answer. I’ve felt this way before. Something’s germinating in my subconscious. Underneath the topsoil layer some new growth is forming, waiting to push through, to make itself known. Once it appears I’ll have something — an insight, an inspiration – that blasts the blues away.

I thrive on change. I’m guessing my life has gotten too comfortable, too predictable for my taste. A circumstance that conjures up the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it.”

After relocation and retirement by choice and widowhood by surprise, I poured my energy into developing close friendships, intriguing activities, and channels for creative expression. With no family or friends with shared memories nearby, and no colleagues with common purpose, I started at square one to build a new life. Aware of my progress, setbacks and years of painstaking persistence, my daughter observed, “All that effort paid off, Mom. I bet you have more going on in your life than most people.”

Now my calendar fills, not only with weekly yoga and writing classes or monthly book club and women’s “life support” groups, but with lunches, movies, cultural outings, potluck dinners and more recently, civic action huddles. No worry when weekends near with no plans in place. Someone in my patchwork quilt of friends texts, “How about this book review on Sunday?” or “Bridge Saturday?”

Am I grateful for each friendship, each welcoming social or mind-stretching affiliation? Yes. Am I content? Well…not lately.

While circling in my holding pattern I came across articles and blogs asserting that happiness is a choice: choose to act happy and you’ll feel happy – in time. Centuries old and current research agree: Smiling can elevate your mood.

So, while I’m watching for the next new thing to grab my imagination, twirl me around and lift my spirits, I’ll give that a try. Surely a forced smile is better than no smile at all. Who knows, if I smile my way through the doldrums I might crack open a way to see, grasp and dive into an exhilarating new calling.


Editor’s Note:  Are there any Boston women out there feeling a little stuck?  You’ll want to check out SHE DID IT–betterafter50.com’s May 17, 2017 one day of workshops at Babson College– for more information, click here.



You can find more from Barbara on her blog and through linkedin.


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