Doing Something Drastic

“The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, from Eat Pray Love.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s story in Eat, Pray, Love is unique in the way that it’s told, but the situation in which Gilbert found herself certainly isn’t new. Very often, adults confront life situations that make them feel lost, out of touch, and aware of the need to make a change, but unsure of how to make it. (When I was in university, I became discouraged with journalism school and took off to the Dominican to work for five months. Although I stayed on one island, it was a big journey to take alone, and I learned an incredible amount about myself. I also learned that I wanted to go back to school—so I did! But I’m not going to say I never looked back at what might have been if I’d stayed on that island.)

Have you ever reached an impasse in life, when doing something drastic in order to shake the feeling that something is missing seems the only answer? What did you do? What do you wish you had done?

Marissa Stapley is a freelance writer, editor, and author who lives in Toronto. Her first novel, Saving the World (in Sensible Shoes) will be released by Key Porter Books in Spring 2011.

10 Responses to Doing Something Drastic

  1. Eden Hagos says:

    After graduating university I worked in retail for a while and was trying to find some direction for my life. One day I decided I needed to see more of the world, I needed some inspiration. I bought a ticket to Africa the next day and was on a plane within the month! It was the trip of a lifetime and when I came back my career took off on its own! I am going back this winter and can’t wait!

  2. Jeannine says:

    Yes, that would be when I decided on getting a divorce. I wish I had done so many years earlier!

  3. Victoria Petrusa says:

    I did something drastic i walked out on a abuse marriage after 24 years. I couldn’t live the way I was living.
    I lived in fear all the time. My telephone conversations were recorded and I was followed like a dog. My mileage was recorded and I kept on staying, I was so afraid to leave. One night the abuse got to the point that my life was being threatened so I left everything that I felt had meaning to my life.
    My husband has turned two of our children against me and my angel that talked me into leaving is with me.
    Life is so full of surprises God only help me in my future life.

  4. shummai says:

    I was engaged to be married; however, my future mother-in-law wanted the marriage in three months time after the
    engagement or there will be no marriage.
    I had one year left to complete my bachelor’s degree.
    With much anxiety, I took the drastic decision to speak with my then fiance that if he agrees to wait for me then the marriage is on otherwise the engagement is off. Those days in our culture it is a taboo for girls’ engagement /marriage to break off.
    He agreed to wait for one year to complete my study whether I am successful or not and I was.
    Today we are married for47 years and still going on by God’s Grace.

  5. Sandra says:

    I moved to another province with my husband and two daughters. A year after the move I was diagnosed with breast cancer and with the treatments it took over a year to feel like my health was back to normal. I feel very lucky but while undergoing treatments I took up painting again. I lost my perfectionism and now I just paint and I love it. I enjoy painting so much and have given my paintings as gifts to family and friends. I am glad that I resurrected this interest from my youth as it really sustains me and allows me to connect with others.

  6. D. Lee says:

    When I started high school, all the stress of being a top student hit me hard. I turned to food out of anger, sadness, and a feeling of being trapped in my own world. This is when i started to gain weight drastically, and for about 2 years i felt miserable.
    Something just got to me, and I started going to the gym regularly. Exercising was a pain at first, but after every session, I felt AMAZING. Overtime I lost all my stress-weight! As well, I did yoga at least two times a week, which helped me calm down mentally and stabilized my mind.
    I just wish I had exercised earlier in my teenage life, maybe I could’ve been a different and more sucessful person now. However, I am so glad I found a new hobby and something I will continue on for the rest of my life!

  7. Sandy says:

    Feeling lost, out of touch, a need to escape are all very familiar to me. My escape, drugs. However, I just went to sleep and probably dreamt of faraway places but, never remembered anything! My return to earth was very difficult and anxiety ridden. But, here I am. My escape before drugs and now after is still to travel. I love seeing, smelling, listening, touching and tasting everything new, it rejuvinates me and allows me to embrace my family, friends, the world and most importantly myself…

  8. Alyson Gael says:

    AN impasse? When I look back, clearly there are two or three. As a publisher of 5 magazines each month and living with a true love, I felt overwhelmed and took off to Aruba for what I called “a mental health” trip. Within the first hour there I met someone who asked if I wanted to go scuba diving. Did he know that diving was a passion of mine? Not at all. I spent the next 14 days diving every day with this good friend only guy and found the quiet, humour, architecture and pure exhileration of leaving the ‘above ground’ world for most of a day truly changed me. The underwater world is full of marvel and when experiencing this somehow I went inside and found my strength, balance rejuvenated passion to then forge ahead with my ‘on land’ life. Getting away like this, doing something really works for me.

  9. Marlene V. says:

    I loved my career but came to a point that my kids felt I was working too much and my son was having some health issues. I made the hard decision of leaving my job to spend more time with my family. Do I regret it — No — do I miss my job —- Yes. But it happened for a reason because that year my mother was also diagnosed with cancer and I was able to take care of her while she went through chemo. Moral of the story — healthy mom and son and happy kids — all worth it. Sometimes there are things more worthwhile!!!

  10. Sharlyn Tollefson says:

    I have been through a great deal of change the last couple of years, some good , some not so good. When my husband of 32 years, partner since 1973, dismissed my feelings about his close friendship with a bar maid, he drove me to the edge of suicide but after much work, I am back and am stronger than ever. I am so much happier not being criticized all the time and I don’t have to worry about him breaking any more of my bones. I have been to a body talker, psychics, been whitewater rafting, did poletastics, traveling with family and friends, got my boat license. I am grateful to God and my angels, and I am embracing life with love. We must all remember that we are children of God and deserve to be treated with love and respect.

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