Ruts are comfortable places, but can lead to a narrow life

Jun 13, 2012

I got to thinking the other day about the ruts we get into in life and how hard it is to break out of them. Back in rural Montana where I grew up, a rut was literally the single path down the center of a dirt road. Travel was smooth in the rut, especially on the long straight-aways where trucks could be seen coming for miles. Everyone would drive in the ruts, which were always in the center of the road except for on the blind corners and hills when the all headed for the higher, bumpier parts of the road.

Aside from driving, there are other ruts we can get in. At our household, for instance, many things hold never change. We go to the same places when we eat out, cook the same meals week after week, watch the same television shows, do the same work and chore routines — you get the picture.

In life, a rut can be a comfortable place to be. But it also doesn’t challenge us to break out of our comfort zones. There are experiences we miss out on, knowledge we don’t gain, spiritual enrichment that gets put off until later and friendships that aren’t nurtured.

I mentioned to my husband that we are living a pretty narrow life and should try to change it up a bit.

“I like narrow,” he said, “and I’d like to get narrower.”

“Really?” I asked. “Why is that?”

“A narrow life is an uncomplicated life,” he said. “I enjoy sitting right here on the front porch and gazing out over our domain. I don’t have any stress and things just suit me fine the way they are.”

As you might imagine, this comfort level with the status quo could present a challenge as I strive to try new casseroles, take over the remote control or, heaven forbid, make any other type of cookies than chocolate chip.

Luckily, I get plenty of opportunity to face new challenges on a daily basis at work. Each day is considerably different than the previous one as news unfolds in our community. Working for the community newspaper opens doors to go all sorts of places where news could be.

Truth be told, my day job provides plenty of variety. Maybe I can settle for more subtle changes at home. Maybe I'll try steak fajitas, which I’ve heard are fantastic.