5 Tips for Breaking Out of Your Tahoe Rut
—By Laura Van Antwerp—
Go ahead and answer the following questions in your head.
- Have you been feeling restless, confused, and frustrated with your life in Tahoe?
- Are you struggling with finding a sense of clarity about what you want to pursue?
- Are you involved in a love/hate relationship with Tahoe?
- Do you sometimes feel guilty for not appreciating Tahoe the way you “should”?
- Do you find yourself blaming your environment (‘”everybody here drinks too much, no jobs”,’ etc.) for your lack of progress?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then I’ve got good news and bad news.
The bad news is there’s a chance you might be in what they call a “rut”. Or, shall we call it: an overwhelming sense of stagnation.
The good news is you’re not alone in this plight, nor are you doomed to it forever.
This year especially I’ve noticed a shift. People are realizing they desire a greater sense of purpose beyond living life as Peter Pan in the Neverland of Lake Tahoe. The lifestyle they were loving is now beginning to feel tiresome and repetitive.
Turns out, YOLOing can get old.
Feeling stagnant isn’t a bad thing; it’s simply life’s way of nudging you towards change. And it doesn’t have to be some grandiose upheaval, like ditching town or quitting your job. Rather, it can be an accumulation of small changes, the kind you can do right here, right now—life tweaks.
But where to begin?
As with most things in life, real change begins with YOU, creating a shift in perception. Start there, work your way out, and you’ll notice everything around you transform.
Easier said than done, I know.
Here are five suggestions on getting started on your mental upgrade:
1. Stop trying to figure out your passion and start exploring your curiosities.
All our lives we are told to “FOLLOW YOUR PASSION” or “CONQUER YOUR DREAMS” which, when you think about it, is a daunting task when you STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOUR F*CKING PASSION IS! *sigh* What you would give for a just a taste of that clear sense of direction everybody around you seems to possess.
Well I’ve got news for you. Your passion isn’t going to show up at your front door like some Jehovah’s Witness. Your passion will only reveal itself through the willingness and courage to explore your curiosities.
Just take it from the sage Liz Gilbert, who wrote,
“ In seasons of confusion, of loss, of boredom, of insecurity, of distraction, the idea of “passion” can feel completely inaccessible and impossible. Curiosity is a lot easier to reach at times than full-on passion — and the stakes are lower, easier to manage.
“Keep doing that, and I promise you: The curiosity will eventually lead you to the passion.”
Think about a few things you’ve been curious about and poke at them. Take a class at the college. Buy a book on something that interests you. Ask someone to take you climbing or to a networking event. Hike a trail you’ve never visited. Talk to strangers.
Make an effort to explore beyond what you know!
2. Stop asking what Tahoe can do for you, and start asking what you can do for Tahoe.
It’s easy to point fingers at our environment and spit blame like “There’re no good jobs in Tahoe, and that’s why it sucks here,” or “This town is full of deadbeats; all anybody does here is drink and party.”
At the end of the day, how you feel about Tahoe has more to do with how you feel about yourself than anything else. Whether you realize it or not, the world is our mirror.
The people that are stoked on Tahoe are stoked because they made a conscious effort to build a flourishing relationship with their community and environment.
If you are hating on Tahoe for being a party town, it’s probably because you got sucked into Tahoe’s unseemly (and perpetually hungover) underbelly, and you can’t see beyond it.
If you think there are no jobs in Tahoe, it might be because you haven’t put forth enough effort to demonstrate exactly what you have to offer.
Instead of thinking about how much Tahoe doesn’t have to offer you, start thinking about what you have to offer Tahoe.
Ponder these two silver linings:
1. In a small community like Tahoe, it’s easier to network and get noticed.
2. Where there’s more opportunities, there’s also more competition. Moving to the city isn’t always the answer.
Once you start thinking about what you have to offer and how you can make an impact, you’ll be AMAZED at the types of friends, opportunity, and all around awesome things you attract.
3. Allow yourself to suck at something for a while.
Feeling stuck or restless is a sign that it’s time to learn something new. You’re ready to navigate unchartered waters. Now ask yourself this: when’s the last time you allowed yourself to be terrible at something? Like, just totally suck?
‘Cause guess what: before you can be good at something you gotta be bad at it first.
Personal growth happens when you push yourself outside your comfort zone, and there’s nothing more uncomfortable than being bad at something.
Think about every thing you’ve ever learned in your life. Learning to walk? I’m going to guess you weren’t running hurdles on day two. Your favorite sport? Had to start somewhere, right? Sex? Who knows, maybe you’re still bad at it.
The problem is, as we get older we become more fearful of looking like an idiot or not excelling at something right out the gate. Sure, it’s awkward. Embarrassing. Time consuming. Scary. Not fun. The list of excuses goes on.
Learn to laugh at yourself. The most awkward moments will make the best stories someday.
Don’t let your pride be your enemy. The sooner you get to being bad at something, the sooner you’ll get to being good at it.
4. Stop trying to convince yourself you’re satisfied where you are if you aren’t.
I see this CONSTANTLY in Tahoe.
People outgrow their job/lifestyle/friends/boyfriend but feel the need to convince themselves it’s where they want to be to hide the fact they feel trapped.
They feel stuck in a job that feels meaningless or offers nothing in the way of growth or new skills, yet there they remain, trying to convince themselves they are doing great.
They stay in relationships they outgrew long ago, and keep trying to wear the damn thing like a ill-fitting crop top that should have been retired in junior high.
The list goes on and on.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with waiting tables or trimming weed. These are even great ways to make fast cash you can reinvest into something that lights your fire and fuels your future.
The problem begins when people create an imaginary storyline for themselves, one that paints a picture of their miserable future selves, paralyzed in a career they hate, single and lonely, missing the life they have now. Their momentum is stifled by an irrational fear of a future that doesn’t exist and MOST LIKELY NEVER WILL.
STOP DOING THAT!! I said STOP IT!
Look. What you’re doing probably worked out well for you for a while, but it’s ok to move on once you’ve squeezed that sponge dry. There are so many forms of badassery out there that you
can WILL thrive in.
You’re not being asked to give up the things you love. If anything, you’ll be asked to harness them in ways you never imagined possible.
5. Stick to something, dammit!
Bouncing from one thing to the next without any clear sense of direction can definitely lead to some major frustration. I get it. You don’t want to ball and chain yourself to something that isn’t fulfilling, or that you won’t succeed in, or that pulls you away from a lifestyle you love, and that’s why you have a hard time committing to anything.
But here’s the thing: it’s easier to stick to something when you commit to it for the purpose of learning. That thing doesn’t have to be your destiny, it just has to be your teacher.
For instance, say you’ve always wanted to build a business or website or brand—maybe all three. Your natural tendency is to get really excited, begin, then as soon as you hit roadblocks or a lackluster patch, you tell yourself, “Damn, I’m not qualified enough to do this shit,” or “This is boring; I only like the fun/romantic parts of it.”
Guess what. NO WORTHY ENDEAVOR IS 24/7 ROSES AND PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDOS!
Don’t quit before the miracle happens.
Maybe your project will take off. Maybe it will fizzle off after a year. Maybe it will simply serve as the bridge to the next exciting in your life.
But no matter what, you can be sure you’ll gain a whole new set of skills and knowledge that would have otherwise never been acquired. Go in with the goal of growth, rather than ‘success’, and you’ll find yourself in a win/win situation.
Believe in yourself. You got this.