• Nancy Mendelson

Have You Outgrown Your Life?

Ever since I first heard the line, “I’m too young to be old and too old to be young,” so memorably delivered by Kathy Bates in the film Fried Green Tomatoes some 30 years ago, it stuck with me and so resonated that it continued to spring to mind whenever I was feeling restless, uncomfortable in my own skin and just plain lost. Ironically, I found strength in those words and felt less alone in my suffering.

Kathy Bates in the 1992 film, Fried Green Tomatoes
Kathy Bates in the 1992 film, Fried Green Tomatoes

Recently, I realized that these ill-defined feelings of discomfort and discontent were growing pains and not age-related at all—they were phase-related. I had simply outgrown certain aspects of my life and was transitioning into a new phase. Yet, while understanding what I was experiencing brought some sense of relief, the ambiguity of being between phases brought its own set of stressors and was somewhat scary.

In my experience, genuine growth is virtually imperceptible. It kind of sneaks up on you and tends to leave you in a state of flux, wondering where you belong and what to do about it. To help you navigate the slippery slope of growing pains, here are some ways you will know if you've outgrown your life:

  • Your life feels like a yawn. You’re just tired of the same old same old.

  • You may be bored at your job or in your current career and feel like there is nowhere for you to advance.

  • Your relationships may feel disconnected. Somehow you just don’t have anything exciting to talk about with your friends and family anymore.

  • Nothing excites you anymore. You’re not sure of what you want and what will bring you feelings of joy.

  • You may be literally growing out of the space you live in. You feel it might be a good idea to move, however, you’re not sure where you want to go.

  • You’re not feeling very romantic and your partner just doesn’t seem to be doing it for you anymore.

In her article 6 Tell-Tale Signs You've Outgrown Your Life (& 4 Ways To Keep Thriving), author Catherine Anesi also offers up some good beginning steps to take in order to understand where you are in your life now.


“Growth is hard but necessary when you’ve outgrown your life,” writes Jen Ryan in 12 Big Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Life. “It can be scary and requires you to stretch yourself into the unfamiliar. It demands that you take risks by leaving the known and comfortable behind.” Or as author Anaïs Nin so eloquently remarked, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”