There are few things more frustrating than getting stuck. Alas, getting stuck is a common thing, as progress is an easy thing to halt. Some forms of being stuck are more important than others. A person getting his four-wheeler stuck in the mud is probably not as big a deal as a beached aircraft carrier. Regardless of the circumstances, though, feeling powerless in the face of obstacles is never a fun experience.


“Actually, I’m sort of starting to like it!”

There are many classic places to get stuck. You can get stuck in traffic, or take your vehicle out on a dirt-road excursion to find yourself stuck in a rut. It is not uncommon for airline passengers to be stuck on the plane, waiting for hours to disembark. Most of the people in an airport at any given time are actually stuck. They would be someplace else if they could be.

There are serious places to be stuck. Students get stuck on homework assignments. Bills get stuck in congress. People get stuck in negotiations with each other to the point where neither person can bend, and both suffer.

And there are not-so-serious places to get stuck. Getting your hand stuck in a cookie jar or your head stuck in a bucket are always good for a laugh. There are video games I have owned for years, and no matter how many times I revisit them, I can never defeat the final boss.


The final boss is acceptance.

But there is no more common a place to get stuck than in the snares of the daily routine. Doing the same thing day after day, week after week, and so on can feel like getting caught in the doldrums. There is no wind to push you along, just the same old stale air. There is no current, just the same stagnant water below. Even if there was a way to propel yourself there would be nowhere to go, for the horizon looks the same in all directions. Then again, this could just be an excuse to stay put.

Even though it is frustrating, it is nice to be stuck sometimes. There is safety in repetition, and a certain peace in things that are dull.

Being stuck in a safe and peaceful place isn’t the worst thing that can happen, but it is the rare person who can be happy like this forever. Most everyone needs at least a little excitement in their life. Unfortunately, this is something the safety and peace of a daily routine can never provide. When locking your keys in your car is the most exciting thing to happen in a long while, it might be time to change things up a little bit.

locked out

Try locking your keys inside the house next time.

Getting away from a sticky place isn’t easy, though. If it were, people wouldn’t get stuck there. However difficult, escape is something all humans ought to be capable of. No matter how complacent or comfortable we become, we still maintain the ability to exert direct and instantaneous control over ourselves. We can at least try to get unstuck.

Be glad you are so lucky the next time you are stuck somewhere. At least you aren’t the poor robotic rover, stuck in a Martian sand dune, and controlled from 140 million miles away.

mars rover

Might as well get used to the scenery.