Stuck in Neutral & Mad Because the Car Won’t Move

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend, who unexpectedly hit me with a nugget of knowledge.  I was complaining about not knowing in which direction I should proceed in regard to work, school, parenting, even life.  “Should I try positive parenting?’  “Maybe I should switch to a more business-oriented program at school? The money would be better.”  “Maybe I should just settle for the job I have, even though I know it’s not for me.”  As always,  I was saddened by the fact that at almost 30, I was still lost as to who I was and who I wanted to be.  The friend I was speaking to is not one who usually drops bombs of knowledge.  He says the occasional thing to show that he is listening, but rarely does he say something that literally takes my breath away.  That is, until that day.

On that particular day, he was on, and ready to call me on my shit.

“You’re living your life in neutral,” he said.  “You’re afraid of going backwards, but you’re also too scared to put the car in drive and speed off.  You’re just sitting in one spot, spinning your wheels, wondering why the car won’t move.  You’re even mad because the car won’t move, but still won’t acknowledge the fact that you’re the one keeping it still.”

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

As much as I preach about change, I am slow to implement significant change in my own life.  I’ve mastered the art of moving just enough to say that I’m progressing, yet not enough to actually progress.

Does that sound familiar?  Are you stuck in neutral, yet refusing to change gears?  Because, in a sense, that’s what you have to do to make significant change.  You have to intentionally place your hand on the gear shift and move it. Put your foot on the gas and gun it!  Drive your way out of apathy, indecisiveness, financial troubles, a dead end career, family problems–everything.  There is only one way to go forward and that is to pass neutral and get to drive.

In what ways have you gone past neutral and into drive?  How has doing that changed your direction or path?


  1. September 10, 2013 / 6:04 pm

    This was me right before I entered the career world. This was me just a few weeks ago. And while I’m happy where I am, while I’m overjoyed.. something was just missing. I know exactly what that is and once I finally acknowledged it, I got off my ass, push my fears aside and began planning. And life felt a little bit better. I’m no where near accomplishing my goal, but I can say that I am proactively working towards it.

    Do what you want with your life. It’s your life and you only get one so why not spend it doing what you love and what makes you happy? Do what makes you happy, Van. I wish you well with your decisions.

    Let’s put the pedal to the floor! (:

    • Vaneese
      September 16, 2013 / 4:06 pm

      I read this last week, but had to come back and read it again. Thanks, Carla.

  2. September 27, 2013 / 5:08 pm

    I had to read your posts back in full, I was ready to give you car advice. LoL.
    Seriously though, wake up in the morning and tell yourself its going to be a great day and stay positive. Just doing this can make a terrible day into a ok day and a ok day into a great day.

    • Vaneese
      October 3, 2013 / 2:26 pm

      Thank you, Akuza. There is definitely power in positive thinking. I continue to falter in this respect tho. Ah well–another day, another chance to get it right!

      And I totally would have taken the car advice!

  3. October 3, 2013 / 1:47 pm

    I’m stealing this, FYI. : ) (I’ll let you know when I do, though.)

    • Vaneese
      October 3, 2013 / 2:15 pm

      Steal away. Sometimes we just have to check ourselves, right?

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