Happy New Year! Stop Everything?

I recently met Adaku, a Nigerian woman who grew up in Italy. Her life wasn’t going well, so she immigrated to the US to get a fresh start. Before long, she had recreated the same problems here that she had in Italy.

“After two years, how have I ended up in the same situation I’ve been trying to get away from? Nonsense! And then I said to myself: ‘Stop everything!’ I picked apart every inch of how I was living and, more importantly, of how I was thinking.”

Of course, none of us intentionally sabotage our own efforts, yet behaviors can become so entrenched and natural that we don’t see them as the cause of our problems. Changing our location means nothing if we aren’t changing the behaviors that keep getting us in trouble.

As Adaku contemplated her path forward, it seemed like those around her were living their lives with joy and purpose. “Everyone knew where they were going in this life but me,” she said. Though a bit discouraged, she didn’t let it stop her from fixing what was broken. Today, seven years after moving to this country, Adaku is happy, on track, and graduating law school with a proud and supportive family celebrating her achievements.

Here’s a bit of advice for those who are in similar straights:

If you’re driving as fast and as hard as you can to change your situation but notice that you keep passing the same tree, that for all your driving you’ve been going in circles, then it’s okay to stop everything and reevaluate. And don’t judge yourself by other drivers. Judge yourself by that tree you keep passing, and then make whatever changes are needed to get you on the right road, the one with your name on it.

Happy 2023! I love you through eternity!