I have a long-lasting, deep-seated hatred of feeling stuck.
I love—perhaps need—to be able to get up and walk around while I’m working. I can sit still for hours but I hate to be forced to.
I go to great lengths to avoid sitting in the middle of a long aisle, because I don’t want to have to crawl across twenty people if I need to exit. I don’t like road trips but airplanes are worse—you can’t pull off to the side of the road when you’ve had enough confinement.
Being metaphorically stuck is equally horrible. I couldn’t commit to homeschooling until we had an exit strategy in place. I wanted to try home education, but I didn’t want to feel trapped by it. When I feel trapped, I start to panic.
When it comes to work, I like to have an idea of what’s next, for me or for my loved ones. It’s not that I’m planning on leaving. I just want to know I have the option to do so should the need arise. If I can see a way out, I’m more likely to stick around.
I’ve always been this way; it’s not terribly surprising, given the heavy “P” in my INFP personality. It’s been a fact of life, something that is: not a good thing, not a bad thing.
But it occurred to me recently, as my husband and I were discussing a few possibilities for our family’s ten-year plan, that my aversion to feeling stuck might not be so neutral after all. It verges on fearful, and fear is never a good basis for making decisions.
I’m also wondering if there’s an upside to feeling stuck. Put another way, it doesn’t have to mean “trapped,” as I tend to define it. It could mean stable, unmoving, committed—for the long haul. Is that necessarily a bad thing?
Perhaps if I stuck around long enough to feel it, “stuck” and the restless energy it generates could be a cousin to the necessity that catalyzes so many innovations. I think I’m doing myself a favor by avoiding that feeling, but the more fruitful thing might be to stick around.
I admire stick-to-itiveness in others; I’d like to think I have that quality myself.
What if fleeing stuck lets me leave before I have the opportunity to glimpse the possibilities of the current situation, to wrestle my best ideas to the ground?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on feeling “stuck”—the good and the bad—in comments.