Why I’m no longer satisfied with the status quo — and what I’m doing about it.






Lately, I’ve been getting restless.

This isn’t necessarily unusual for me. I’m prone to restlessness.
For example, I’ve moved around (frequently), I’ve changed jobs (almost as frequently) and I’ve had more than my share of boyfriends (are you sensing a theme here?).

But the restlessness of late, is a bit different in flavor and texture.
It feels deeper, more tied to my core and is absolutely unrelenting.
Normally if I move, change jobs or give up a relationship – the restlessness subsides.
For awhile.
This time?
Not so much.

I’m feeling called to examine everything in my life.
For years I operated by the same rules that all of us are familiar with – society’s status quo.
I believed that if I grew up, was a nice person, got a stable job, found a man and prepared for a long, happy life together (with kids and a puppy of course), that I would feel complete and happy and fulfilled. Because everyone around me said that was what you do. And many around me have chosen that path. Apparently if I follow in their footsteps, I’ll be happy.
But I’m not.

I’m not miserable, don’t get me wrong.
To the contrary, I’m actually quite happy with my life right now.
But I’m feeling the pull to question everything that I’ve ever been taught.
I’m feeling a desire to bust through the status quo that my family and the world have told me was “the right way”.
I want to make decisions because I believe they’re right for me, with every fiber of my being.
I don’t want to live a formulaic life, just because it’s what everyone else is doing.

Sidenote: I have nothing against the status quo on principle. This post isn’t about bashing marriage, having kids or staying at a job for 15 years. If that rocks your world, then I’m STOKED for you. For real. I mean it. :)
If you’re happy, I’m happy.
But if you’re not happy and feel even just the whisper of disillusionment or rebellion, then keep reading (’cause I’m right there with you).

In the last few months I’ve been questioning my notions or partnership, marriage, children, families, jobs, creativity, ambition, friendship and desire.
I’m unpacking a lot of shit. And it’s not totally clear yet.

I wish it was. I wish I could wrap it up with a pretty grosgrain bow and it all made sense. But I can’t. And it doesn’t. Not yet.

Have you ever felt like the status quo isn’t working for you? Like the way everyone else does it, just isn’t cutting it? Like you want to break out and find a new way (YOUR way)?
I feel you. And I’m here to tell you that it’s possible. In fact, it’s more than possible – it’s inevitable.

If you’re feeling pulled in a direction that feels foreign and uncertain and scary – eventually you will have to explore it and ask yourself the hard questions. You won’t find the level of fulfillment you desire if there’s part of you that has one foot in and one foot out of your life.

The status quo isn’t something you just decide to go against and then your life is peachy. Nope.
You have to challenge your own patterns and habits, which then challenges (and may even helps shift) the status quo. Like in all things, action creates momentum and change.

So in that spirit, here’s a short-list of what I’m doing to shake things up in my corner of the world.

I hope it inspires you to shake things up in your world (and if you have any suggestions for me, please let me know in the comments below).

*I’m re-defining what love actually means to me – like really digging in to the word, the feeling, and how I can have more of it in my life.
*I’m exploring the concept of a committed partnership vs. marriage (and determining which one I really want).
*I’m busting open my money myths and getting clearer about how much I want/need in order to be happy.
*I’m securing part-time work that’ll allow me to have some stability (for the first time in years).
*I’m going out on a limb creatively and writing a screenplay.
*I’m allowing tears to flow, even when I’m in public (NOT easy).
*I bought watercolor paints and have been using them as a way to explore vulnerability and authenticity.
*I’m opening myself to my partner in new ways – we’re exploring ideas, concepts and points-of-view that I never would have considered before.
*I’m committed to being more open and honest with everyone around me.
*I’m allowing myself to eat what I want and explore what it might look like to be compassionate with myself around food.
*I’m leaning into the grey of life (instead of operating in black + white).
*I’m shaking loose the idea that being “normal” is somehow desirable (or possible).
*I’m taking the drivers seat and not waiting for someone to come along and save the day (i.e. my knight in shining armor).

Just writing out that list made me squirm in my seat a little bit.
Though a huge part of me wants to explore and redefine ‘the rules’ in my life – a big part of me wants to just go along with the crowd, stay safe and do what everyone else is doing. The desire to fit in is primal. But the desire to live authentically, not abandon myself and show my true colors, is even more so.

As in all things, it’s a practice. Some days I’m a rockstar at this stuff. Other days, not so much.

So, tell me, what internal (or external) status quo messages are you pushing against (or wish you could)? What might it feel like if you used your own compass and your core desired feelings/values to navigate the world?

Here’s to finding your own true colors!



{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Theresa November 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Love this. Totally insightful and rings true on so many different levels. Thanks for sharing.


The Habit


Stephanie Watanabe November 16, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Oh good, I’m glad it resonated with you Theresa! Thanks for leaving me a note here. :)


Dara November 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm

I really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for writing it so honestly! I feel like I’m also in the middle of examining just about everything so I can definitely relate. I think one false message that I’d internalized was that everything would be awesome once I was running my own business/being my own boss, and while it’s been great in lots of ways, it’s definitely not a magical solver of all problems. “Wherever you go, there you are” and all that!


Stephanie Watanabe November 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm

So happy to see your name/face here Dara! And I’m glad this post spoke to you. I’ve had similar ideas that being a biz owner would be a magical cure as well. Not so much. I’ve found that my ideas of what is fulfilling and acceptable change over time, so flexibility has been a skill that has been super handy. ;)
Thanks again for sharing this + hope you’re well!! xo


Miranda Reiter, CFP December 4, 2013 at 3:56 am

I’m right there with you Steph. This post resonates with me and I applaud your efforts for getting real with yourself and unveiling your feelings publicly about the status quo. I rarely comment on blog posts but the awesome picture caught my eye and pulled me in to read and comment.


Stephanie Watanabe December 4, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Thank you so much for stopping to leave a comment Miranda – that really means a lot! I’m glad that the post resonated with you and hope that you’re finding your own unique ways of bursting through the status quo as well. :)


Adria January 21, 2014 at 12:01 am

Love this! I completely get it..and I feel like this is a theme that has reoccurred throughout my life and will continue to do so..I honestly think it’s an indication that we are living to our fullest..when you are truly chasing enlightenment and what is necessary for your highest good, there is no end to the crises and transformations..because these are what enable us to let go of our ego, open our hearts, and grow..at least, that’s one way I like to think of it = )


Stephanie Watanabe January 21, 2014 at 10:52 am

I love what you said about there being no end to the crises, Adria. You are SO right. I think we have this idea that if we take the magic pill, or reach a place of happiness, that from that point forward, our lives will be perfect + easy. But that’s not how it goes. I’ve come to be thankful for the pain, because I know it leads me to greater levels of self awareness and growth. Thanks for your great insight + for stopping by to leave a comment! :)


Char March 18, 2014 at 8:41 pm

I was reading your post and it clicked, I am not happy with the status quo. I did what everyone did, marriage, kid, school and a job. But it is so neat. It is packed up in a pretty bow. I am not a pretty bow. I want to be messy. I want to rip the chains of normal and be happy. I am not sure how to get there. I am not sure how I start. It has been a long 34 years of being the status quo. It’s hard to change the normal habit and break free. But I have decided today that I am not normal. I am not the staus quo. Thanks for the insight. I don’t feel alone.


Stephanie Watanabe March 19, 2014 at 8:30 am

Hi Char, thank you so much for leaving me this note. I very much admire your willingness to admit that you want something more. That’s the hardest part – so give yourself extra love for being able to say these words to someone else. You’re absolutely not alone. And yet I know that doesn’t take away how scary it is to know that you want things to change.
There’s no right or wrong way to rip off those chains. For me it’s looked like many tiny steps. At times I’ve felt that I wasn’t making progress, but when I look back now, I can see that the little decisions and small shifts have led up to a life that is more authentic and fulfilling. I hope that you will feel supported by your loved ones and continue to seek out the life that calls to your heart. xo


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