Step Off the Conveyor Belt: Make a Change & Take Back Your Power

Healthful Mama Change Direction in Life

“…and ever since we got here, things have just fallen into place for us, one thing after the next…”

A collective, “Ohhhh…wowwww…” erupted from the gaggle of parents gathered behind our son’s preschool. We were all there for New Student Day and I had just finished telling the story of “How We Ended Up in New Mexico.” One mama looked at me pointedly and said, “See? You finally got on the right path. That’s all it took.”

A year ago, I wrote THIS POST, announcing that some changes were going to happen for my family and me. A random meeting with a stranger during a camping trip, some unpleasant career circumstances, and a simple suggestion of a friend put us on a completely new path. It feels like a lifetime ago.

Three weeks after that post, our house looked like this:
HealthfulMama Making Changes in Life
On a cold, rainy evening in October, our belongings were packed into a moving truck and we left the next morning at dawn. Four days later, we crossed into New Mexico and our new life had begun. It all seems rather insane. I know our family and friends didn’t understand why we would leave a comfortable home four miles from the beach, a steady career, and the proximity of family, to cross the country, seemingly for no explicable reason, and move to a state most people think of as another country, without jobs nor a place to live–with a 2-year-old. In their position, I would have looked at me with the side-eye of ten-thousand skeptics.

Healthful Mama Making Change

When I look back on photos and videos of the time before our move, the unhappiness is palpable. I remember feeling as if life were a conveyor belt on which I rode, unable to change the speed, drifting past places and time. I didn’t know where the conveyor belt ended, but I thought that if I just kept riding, I’d find out.
HealthfulMama Make Changes

I remember feeling as if life were a conveyor belt on which I rode, unable to change the speed, drifting past places and time. I didn’t know where the conveyor belt ended, but I thought that if I just kept riding, I’d find out.

It was sort of like being on one of those flat, moving sidewalks in airports. Those inventions are ironically-named, aren’t they? Instead of MOVING, as the name implies, one simply stands, and rests, and allows the belt beneath her feet to do all of the work. Before that fateful decision to move (which, I should mention, was decided by three declarative statements: “F*ck it. Let’s do it. Let’s move.”), we thought we were on a reasonable track in life. We were college-educated, we had stable jobs, we were raising a family like those before us. But we were simply blindly riding a conveyor belt, with no notice of how it was controlled, nor how quickly it was moving, nor what was passing by. We just stood on the belt, staring at one another, waiting for the ride to end.

A year ago, my family stepped off the conveyor belt.

Once we stepped off, we could stop and observe. We felt the weight of our bags. We could laugh. We could walk for ourselves.

Since then, a series of kismet-esque events have brought us to the present. In order to prove the good fortune of it all, I started to list the ways life has worked in our favor in the past year, but the details aren’t important (are they ever?). My list is simply Our Story. It is one of many journeys. Our story isn’t any more compelling nor inspirational nor unique than any other life journey except for one difference: we recognized that the path we were on, no matter how much sense it SHOULD have made, was not one we were controlling. We took back our power.
HealthfulMama Making Change in Life

Join the conversation: Have you ever felt like life was not working in your favor? How did you make change?

NM sign photo credit: CGP Grey via photopin cc


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10 Responses to Step Off the Conveyor Belt: Make a Change & Take Back Your Power

  1. Anna@Green Talk September 18, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    My goal is to establish “office hours” so I can start enjoying the little things that work has consumed. The hardest part is to shed what isn’t working for you.

    How did the move get you off the “belt?”

    • HealthfulMama September 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

      Anna, there are too many things to list (which is why I didn’t). In short, everything just became EASIER, when, really, it should be harder. We’re not making as much money, we’re far from family, we don’t get many breaks from parenting…but it’s just so much better when the river of stress isn’t flowing beneath the surface.

  2. GenaGena September 18, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    I have been where you were a couple of times, although we didn’t move too far, all within the state of Texas. Sometimes we are knocked out of our comfort zone and thankfully God has placed us in better opportunities. I think we can’t really learn and grow if we chill in our comfort zone all the time. These moves are good for us, even if they make me highly uncomfortable. :)

    • HealthfulMama September 19, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      Yes, Gena! Stepping out of the comfort zone is the only way to make progress, right?

  3. Becky Striepe September 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    Man, do I know this feeling or WHAT? I had a “great” 9-5 corporate job that paid very, very well. The only problem was that my managers all thought I didn’t do work (as I worked my patootie off), and I would regularly have to hide behind the filing cabinet in my office, so no one could see me crying through the window.

    The day that Dave and I planned an escape from that situation was one of the best days of my life. I probably make 1/3 of what I was making now, but I am 10,000 times happier.

    • HealthfulMama September 19, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      Becky, I remember watching an episode of Oprah where she profiled people who had made major life changes for the sake of happiness. One of the guests was a woman who left corporate America and a six-figure-paying job to become a circus performer. A CIRCUS PERFORMER. As a young 20-something, trying to start my career, that seemed so silly to me. But now I get it–completely.

  4. ecokaren September 30, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    I just got your monthly email and saw this and had to jump in. I sold my thriving Chiropractic practice to stay home with my kids. Was it the best decision in my life? Hard to tell but so far so good. They are not on drugs, are not in jail and never asks me for booze money. I did sacrifice a lot. A LOT. But I was a mom and will always be a mom. If I didn’t have kids, my life would be different but that’s not an option nor would I have it any other way. I was too stressed about who’s picking up whom (Um, eventually, ME), who needs help with a homework breakdown (Um, again, ME) and who’s cooking dinner (also, ME, after all is said and done). So, my choice was very clear. Now that they are in college, I feel like I can do what I want to do without guilt or stress.

    • HealthfulMama October 1, 2013 at 12:48 am #

      Thanks for sharing, Karen!

  5. Jill Bailey September 30, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    Hi there, we’re leaving New England on November 18 th to head Back Home to the Midwest where our families are…we have been alone out here for 9 years, had our boys, made a few sweet, meaniningful, connections, and defended my staying home to full time parent even though it meant a lot of sacrifice b/c its ” wicked hard to make it on one income here” our time forged our marriage, taught us a lot and helped us make healthy choices and now we feel the gratitude of going home-fully,and intentionally engaged with our boys to reconnect them to our families so it’s sorta like your story…our house looks the same as yours did before your move to New Mexico…cheers to new beginnings!

    • HealthfulMama October 1, 2013 at 12:48 am #

      Cheers! =D

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