We had the privilege of seeing Waitress last night, and I loved it. Pretty great music, amazing cast, really beautifully imagined scene design, and the story was a variation on one of my favorite themes, the coming of age story. In this case, it's the part where you realize that the only way to have a better life is to choose it. Sometimes you just need something to happen to you to make that realization, or there is some path to take to get there. Spoiler alert: I probably wouldn't suggest having an affair with your married gynecologist while pregnant as a first step, but you know, it just depends.
The story presents the hardest part about choosing a better life, in that it may not be totally obvious that you can make that choice. I can relate to that, because it took me a very long time to make the now obvious observation that I could move away from the place I had spent three decades in search of something else. My damage there was that I simply wasn't open to it. It's not even that I objected to the idea, I just wasn't looking for anything that might be different.
I'm completely sensitive to the socioeconomic barriers of economic advancement, but when it comes to better work and career, the one sure way to not advance in any way is to not try. I might be somewhat left leaning, but it's hard for me to empathize with anyone who is unwilling to pursue something better. We get that here locally, where people will work for Disney in a crappy, front-line, low-skill job for a decade and can't understand why that kind of work will never make them comfortable. And hey, I've been there... I worked in radio and retail right after college. I made it work by living with my then-girlfriend and living in a tiny apartment, looking for the work that would yield better outcomes (an entire career change, as it turned out). I had to choose to do that, because it wouldn't happen by accident.
This certainly happens with interpersonal relationships, too. No one enters them with the intent of failure, but if we're being honest, all relationships either end in a break-up or death. To me, that's reason enough not to see time as a reason to stay in a relationship that isn't good. That's probably harder than the job angle, and I'm a terrible person to judge. I guess I'm lucky because at least I could still be friends with ex's, but I wasn't usually the one to say or see that, "This isn't working for me."
There's no doubt that we often find ourselves in circumstances that suck. It's often not our fault, and it's not fair. But we can't move forward without choosing to. It's the first step to change, and sometimes we need someone or something to remind us of that.