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This car got stuck in a rut. I wouldn't want to be driving down a road like that, but sometimes there's no way around it. The expression "to be stuck in a rut" comes from the 1800s and alludes to a wheel of the car getting stuck in a groove (or rut) of the road. Two hundred years down the road (figuratively speaking) people still get stuck in a rut, but the expression is more commonly used figuratively. Here're a few examples:
- After working for this company for 10 years I feel like I'm stuck in a rut and can't move anywhere.
- At 40 my life was in a rut, and I decided to sell everything I had and move to another country.
- The economy of this country is clearly in a rut.
"be in a rut" or "get/be stuck in a rut" means to do the same thing for a long time to the point of being extremely bored, not making any progress, and losing desire for the things you love doing.
Other, similar expressions are:
- to be stalled (another car-related expression): I realized after 20 years of working at this factory that my life was stalled and I lost any passion for the job I used to love.
- to be stuck (very close in meaning): I don't know about you, but I feel stuck and have no idea how to develop this business any further.
How do you "get out of a rut" is the question that a number of people have attempted to answer in their own ways. Here are some tips (pay attention to the expressions in bold):
- To break free, one should convince oneself that this, too, shall pass.
- Exercising frequently can also help individuals break themselves out of a rut.
- Whenever you begin feeling that your life is out of alignment try changing jobs or at least working on a new project for a change.
- Finally, taking stock of your feelings may help you prevent any further fatigue and dissatisfaction.
In conclusion I'd like to add that "getting into a rut" is inevitable, even to the most *driven* individuals (I can't seem to get away from the car theme, can I?). What one should always keep in mind though is the urgency of getting out of a rut and not wallowing in the dirt forever. As Ellen Glasgow, an American novelist, once said, "The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions." The moment we stop overcoming our weaknesses we might as well bury ourselves alive.