I recently took my car in for a major repair – one that required taking the engine apart, and then putting it all back together. I knew that it was going to cost a painful amount of money, so when the mechanic called to tell me that the clutch was shot, too, I lowered my forehead to the table. “Uh huh,” I said. “You can fix that, too.” TAKE EVERY DOLLAR, man. It’s all yours.

Later that day when I picked up the car, I asked the mechanic if there was any way I could have known that the clutch was on its way out. He said, “You should have felt it in the pedal.” I shrugged, saying, “It felt normal to me – just the way it always feels.” I settled the bill and headed to the car.

As I drove away from the shop, I was surprised at how different the new clutch felt. It was so easy to press down; my left leg barely had to work. All of a sudden, shifting was no longer a full-body effort – it was a breeze. Everything seemed quieter, easier – and I realized that this wasn’t some fancy luxury, this was just the way that it was supposed to feel.

It’s funny how dysfunction can sneak up on us. We go about our busy lives, from one distraction to the next – and just as long as we keep moving, we don’t have time to notice what might be falling apart right beneath our feet. The growing noise becomes normal. The increasing struggle feels standard. And before we know it, something inside is burned out, worn down, used up.

These days, I’m becoming more and more aware of the beliefs and thought patterns that have made my life feel hard for a really long time. Years? Always? It’s hard to tell. All I know is that the mantras I’ve repeated for so long, framing the way I think about this life and my place in it, have advanced to a point that has made everything feel like a fight.

Just like my stubborn clutch, life has gradually become a soul-stomp. And I just thought that was normal.

Famously hard on myself, I have a habit of self-pressuring to be better, be more, do more. I have pushed myself hard and fast, aspiring toward a place where there is nothing left requiring relief, all the while ignoring the ever-growing trouble inside.

And sometimes, it isn’t until we experience something the way it should be that we realize just how bad off we’ve been.

I’m going through somewhat of a personal renaissance these days, feeling revived and encouraged and all-around refreshed, and through this, I’ve had a taste of what feels right. It makes me sad that I have spent so much of my life fighting against things that were broken to begin with – things that could have been easier, should have been easier. I want to live differently.

So today as I drive my car to work, with each easy push of the clutch I will remind myself that it’s okay to go easy. It’s okay to quit training for the half marathon for the sake of my back. It’s okay to fall a little short of my monthly savings account goal. It’s okay to order the bridesmaid dress in the size that I am, not the size that I want to be. It’s okay to be a beginner at something. It’s okay to not know what’s going to happen – because whatever happens, it’s not worth the soul-stomp.



  1. Perry on February 15, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    Ditto. Somewhere along the way I too picked up these ideas and guidelines for how life should be, how I should be, and it’s made the past 15-20 years pretty crappy sometimes! I’m finally to a point if I catch myself in that mindset, I ask myself “Why? Why do you think that? Says who?” I feel more relaxed and more confident than ever because of it too. You’re a smart gal, Annie Parsons!

  2. Miranda on February 15, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    Such wise words. Thank you, again, for sharing your life and encouraging us all at the same time. I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling revived. I can’t wait to hear about it in person!

  3. Mary on February 15, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Oh Annie, I needed this today.

  4. Micheal Hailey on February 15, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Collectively, our souls tend to rebel against certain aspects of American culture.
    I think many, if not most, young Americans are beginning to realize there is more to life than constantly being on the go. Striving to achieve professional success at the expense of our humanness just isn’t holding up well, is it?
    The sentiment expressed here is something that I’m constantly experiencing.
    Glad you were able to express yourself! Cheers.

  5. Brenda on February 15, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    This is wonderful, Annie! How wonderful for you to be discovering this now, you have much life ahead. On to new adventures in freedom:)

  6. Christy on February 15, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    “And sometimes, it isn’t until we experience something the way it should be that we realize just how bad off we’ve been.”

    oh my – hits home with me today..
    thank you!

  7. Greta on February 15, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Ah. This makes me so excited to see you soon. Can’t wait til we’re having these sorts of conversations in person.

    I love your heart AP. You are brave!!

  8. Kendall on February 15, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Had the same experience after having my Subaru overhauled, too. It was dumbfounding the amount of adjustment I’d made in my driving and even approach to getting in the car as a result of the issues that were begging for attention. And it only took getting them fixed to be reminded of how things are supposed to be…:)

  9. Brit on February 15, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    So. much. this.

  10. Miranda on February 15, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Thanks for helping me figure out the picture thing! Haha! :)

  11. Emily Hausman on February 15, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Right on, Annie! I love this!

  12. Lyla on February 15, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    Love this post.

  13. Syneva on February 16, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Annie, this is beautiful. Something I really needed to hear. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  14. Matt on February 18, 2013 at 8:32 AM


    Truth, and well written.

  15. Katie Cook on February 18, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Wow, this really spoke to me today. I feel so similar to you. I spent so many years with unhealthy ways of dealing with situations, and finally through a season of extreme personal brokenness, sweet Abba is bringing me to a new place of transformation, and it feels so good. So right. Ah, I just resonated so so much. Can’t wait to start following your blog! love Katie

  16. Chelsea on February 19, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    well said & well done

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