Photo: S.Borisov/Shutterstock

7 Signs It's Time to Get the Hell Out of Dodge

by Mary Sojourner Oct 17, 2014

Maybe you know how it feels. Maybe you don’t. It’s a good bet you eventually will.

Humans are like sharks — in the words of Woody Allen — if they don’t move, they die. Dodge can be anything, anywhere. The love of your life has become the bore of your life. The country that held nothing but mystery now just holds nothing. That road trip that was going to be the beginning of the rest of your life has ended with you on wifi in some small-town library, surfing Facebook. The job that you busted your ass for is still busting your ass.

But, maybe — maybe you and your ex-love can talk it out. Maybe you need to ride your bike a little harder, climb a little higher, swim out into the rip-tide. Maybe there will be a message from that alluring stranger who has asked to be your “friend.” Maybe that promotion will finally come through — after all, it’s been five years. Before you mire yourself further, check out the signs that a good thing has gone nowhere.

1. You’re stuck in your own head.

You can’t stop thinking about what isn’t working. You lie awake until 3am conjuring plans to make things better. When you try to think about something else, your brain says, “No way, pal. We’ve got to figure this out.”

2. All you want to do is get high, loaded, laid.

You might want that normally, but now there’s a new urgency. You tell yourself you need to change your perspective — and what better way to do that than smoke a few bowls, slam a few beers, surf a new body. Next morning you’re burned out, hungover, and wishing only for the new person next to you to go away.

3. You’re having imaginary conversations with who / what is driving you up a wall.

You figure out exactly what you’ll say to fire up the love affair; show your boss that you and s/he should swap places; persuade the internet stranger you’re the answer to everything. You lie awake trying to decide whether or not to hit yourself in the head with a brick to stop the nattering voices.

4. You can’t stop taking inventory of every flaw in Dodge.

You know your discontent can’t be about you. After all, six months ago you loved everything there was to love about your brave new world. It’s simple: If only s/he would/wouldn’t…; the guy in the next cubicle wouldn’t pick his nose; a new face would show up at the hostel communal dinner. Worst case: What’s outside you changes and you still feel trapped in a compost pile.

5. The Glory Days have begun to seem incredibly glorious; Home Sweet Home glows with a divine light.

How could you have left the perfect lover before this no-longer perfect love? What was so bad about Phoenix? (You know you’re in real trouble when you start thinking that.) And the swell times with Jennifer, Manuel, and Dark Dave working the counter at Mickey D’s — how could you have wanted to get the hell out of there?

6. You can’t think of one single thing that would be exciting — in New Zealand, in your hip little job, in bed.

Googling the Maori is more exciting than watching the haka. The guy in the cubicle next to you has stopped picking his nose. Now he’s just snuffling the boogers into his throat. Bed? Bed? Beds are for sleeping. And alone would be preferable.

7. You clicked on this piece as soon as you saw it.

You’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. You’ve been waiting — without knowing it — for somebody to ask you how you feel. You’re sick of thinking in clichés, except for this one: It’s time to get the hell out of Dodge.

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