You want to know how to escape the rat race. This means you already know what the rat race is. But let’s just make it really clear. The ‘rat race’ is a race that no matter how fast or hard you run… you don’t get anywhere. EXHAUSTING.
Here’s what I’ve learned: Apparently the life of rats can echo the life of people… but the rats are smarter.
THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. IF YOU WANT TO READ THE FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY, CLICK HERE.
What is the Rat Race?
I homeschool my 3 kids (ages 8, 6 &4). Most days it’s fun, other days, I could use a little peace.
One thing I LOVE about it, though, is the time I get to snuggle with my kids as I read a book aloud to them.
Right now, we’re reading a book called “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.”
This book has been so enjoyable for all of us… but as we were reading it today… it got to a whole new level of good. At least for me… the kids didn’t really get why I was saying “wow!” and marking pages.
These rats, in fact, touched on something that I’m really passionate about: how everybody is busy.
Keep reading to find out which part had me yelling “preach it!” to a bunch of rats:
The rats were talking about how they had read (yes, these are really smart rats) a story about a lady who, just like all the other women in town, had always done the cleaning in her pristine home with a broom and mop.
One day, though, she bought a vacuum cleaner. All the other women in her town were so envious, they all ran out to purchase their own.
There were so many vacuums being sold, the company decided to put a factory in their town. This produced all sorts of pollution and dust that made their homes dirtier than they had ever been before… and even though they had their beautiful vacuum cleaners… they were working twice as hard and long as before. These women were now busy all the time. Unwittingly, in pursuit of ease and the trophy home, they had entered the rat race.
This story had caught the rats’ interest because it was titled “Rat Race.” You know, the type of race where you run fast and hard… but you don’t get anywhere.
What the rats observed, though, was that this was more of a “people race.” The rats were smart enough to see this as a cautionary tale.
Instead of being envious, and wanting to strive for all the “goods” the human race had acquired, they wanted to strip it back. They could see that everything the humans had done to try to make life “bigger and better” had really made life more stressful and cluttered.
The rats were smart enough to start leaving the rat race before they even started it.
Life is too Busy
I HATE the phrase “life is too busy.” But, I’m going to have to be honest. I use that phrase more often than I like to admit.
I’m the kind of person that just loves to take on a new challenge, or experience, or commitment. As my mom says, the moss doesn’t have time to grow under my feet. But I really believe that because this is something I struggle with, I should talk about it.
If I was reading an article from someone who had never made choices that made them “too busy,” well… I wouldn’t bother reading it.
Since I have to work hard to avoid the feeling of “busy all the time,” I’ve learned a few things about how to escape the rat race. If you want to stop saying that life is too busy, then TRUST me, you’re in good company.
How to Escape the Rat Race
If you’re wanting to know how to quit the rat race, here are some steps:
- Examine why you want to leave the rat race. How do you feel about the pressures of life? What makes you want a change?
- Understand why you entered the rat race. Probably multiple reasons… The “rat race” seems to be the default position in North American culture, so it’s nothing to feel ashamed of. Perhaps you entered the rat race because of societal expectations, the culture of busyness, the pursuit of “things,” wanting more money, perfectionism, people-pleasing, wanting to give your kids experiences, comforts, etc… or perhaps another reason entirely.
- After honestly assessing #2, decide if you can let go of some of those things. You can not find freedom without some sacrifice, and you cannot heal what you’re not willing to feel.
- Assess your priorities. Your life should be structured according to your priorities. You may find that when you get your priorities in order, you can naturally leave the rat race.
- Declutter your home. What fills your space will inevitably take up your time. And before you purchase anything new, critically ask yourself if you really need it… or if you just want it.
- Declutter your life. Your schedule should not rule you. Time to sit down with your calendar and ask some tough questions.
- Take a look at your internet/social media use. Is it taking up too much time?
If you’re looking for a little help on the “declutter” end, you need to check out Allie Casazza. She’s a minimalism expert, and the queen of decluttering. Check out her ideas on the “uncluttered home” and becoming “unburdened.” You can find her podcast here.
To help you along, I’ve also created a FREE printable to help you identify your priorities, and structure your life accordingly! Simply fill in the box below to get access!
And for those of you looking for a review on Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, I highly recommmend! Grab a copy to read with your kiddos, or enjoy it yourself! It’s a great story with great characters, and a great lesson.