Room To Grow

There's a small succulent that quietly exists on a shelf in my bathroom.

It's the oldest living plant at the ranch, surviving primarily on natural light, humidity from the shower, and an occasional watering when I think of it. It has stuck around through eight Nashville seasons of extreme weather and has managed to avoid being knocked over (or eaten) by the cat.

Recently, I noticed that the soil seemed to be drying out more quickly. Even with more frequent waterings, the fragile leaves were constantly withering and breaking off. I soon realized that the plant was overcrowded in its original hardware store pot. It was choking itself of nutrients, fighting for air, light, and water to stay alive.

It needed a change, so I took it outside in attempt to revive it.

Turning a potted plant upside down is absolutely terrifying.

Was disturbing the plant really the right thing to do?

Something about it just felt wrong.

I dangled my poor succulent just over the edge of the lawn and watched all of the dead leaves sprinkle onto the ground. I lightly tugged at the few remaining strands desperately clinging to the holes in the bottom of the pot. I winced as I separated the tightly bound ball of tiny roots and dry soil into two similarly sized plants.

I carefully placed each plant into a new, larger pot, insulating each one with dirt. I drizzled water into each one, moved them both back to the bathroom, and waited.

Much to my surprise, my two plants are doing all right. They still appear somewhat dwarfed by their new homes, but have acclimated more quickly than I anticipated.

Ever felt like that plant?

You've lingered too long in an unhealthy relationship or outgrown a job.

Whatever your circumstances may be, it's time to make a change. And that impending change can be frightening.

Why is it that we're so worried about worsening an already dire situation? Is it the possible failure that we fear, or the act of change itself?

I'm aware that I'm being rather vague, speaking in analogies and riddles, but I'm on the brink of a making a major change in my life. And I'm feeling deeply anxious about it, despite the tough mask I've been sporting for my friends.

It's easy to make jokes on the porch after a few glasses of whiskey, but its just stalling, and delaying the inevitable.

Change can be really freaking hard.

Repotting that plant was risky, but that certainly beat the alternative, right?

How long does the window of opportunity to make a change stay open?

Readers: Have you made difficult changes in your life to give yourself room to grow?

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Discussions — 29 Responses

  • Kipp July 25, 2014 on 11:07 am

    My last job change wasn’t difficult because I really wanted to move up and out. I think if an opportunity would ever present itself in the future I would need to look at it as an opportunity to grow.

    • Addison Cash Kipp July 28, 2014 on 7:46 am

      Thanks for sharing, Kipp! That’s a great way to look at a change in jobs.

  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life July 25, 2014 on 12:46 pm

    Breaking up with my ex of five years, who I lived with at the time, was probably the most difficult thing I ever did. I think I knew it was over at least a year before I left, I was just afraid to leave. Since leaving, my life has completely turned around for the better in EVERY way. It’s amazing what taking that leap can do.

    • Addison Cash Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life July 28, 2014 on 7:45 am

      That sounds like a very difficult situation, Stefanie. Especially in New York City where affordable housing is a challenge. I’m glad to hear that this necessary change has made your life better in so many ways!

  • JC @ July 25, 2014 on 2:59 pm

    Best of luck on your decision.

    Making a big change is difficult for me as well. I almost didn’t take my current job because of the job duties, not the actual work but being away from home. And that was when I had already been out of work for 1.5 years and getting my first taste of what FI could be without having any clue as to what it was. I’ve contemplated changing jobs over the last year or so but it’s not really the fear of change itself that keeps me from making the move. I’m content with my job and where our life is at but I also want some more freedom. My current job is giving me the opportunity to go for FI on an accelerated pace or at least get to a solid level before making a change.

    Again, best of luck.

    • Addison Cash JC @ July 28, 2014 on 7:44 am

      Thanks for sharing, JC. That’s fantastic to hear that your new job is facilitating your journey to financial freedom more quickly.

  • Autumn @ The Barefoot Budgeter July 25, 2014 on 3:07 pm

    Change is always scary because of the unknown, but I think it’s even scarier to stay in a situation where you’re not happy. The worst case scenario is that the new situation won’t work out, but then you just make another change until something does work.

    It was scary to leave my last job after nearly 5 years to essentially start over, but I learned a lot in the process. The new job wasn’t what I thought it would be, but that’s ok. I learned a lot and can move on again.

    Best wishes for whatever big change you have coming :).

    • Addison Cash Autumn @ The Barefoot Budgeter July 28, 2014 on 7:42 am

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your story, Autumn. Perhaps making the initial leap will make future job changes a lot easier.

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde July 25, 2014 on 3:13 pm

    My life seems to be defined by change, and I am never bothered by it because I always see it as growth. My hubby on the other hand, hates change and never adapts well to it. Change is definitely painful and scary; however, without it, just like your plant we could stop growing and where’s the fun in that?

    • Addison Cash Shannon @ Financially Blonde July 28, 2014 on 7:42 am

      Agreed, Shannon. Growth is imperative. I’m constantly looking for ways to improve and sometimes that means making a change.

  • Kassandra July 25, 2014 on 3:32 pm

    My friends and I joke that my life is never constant as there is always something new happening in it. I tend to go with the flow with most changes in my life and welcome them. Immigrating to the US however was not a change that I embraced at first for many reasons. In fact I put it off for a long time. The only reason that I did it was that it was the most logical decision for my DH and myself.

    I am getting used to life here and slowly adapting and it has opened many new doors for me but it definitely is not the easiest of life situations that I have experienced.
    I hope that whatever is coming your way will be a really positive change for you! Feel the fear, but do it anyway!

    • Addison Cash Kassandra July 28, 2014 on 7:41 am

      Thanks for sharing your story, Kassandra! I can definitely see how immigrating to another country would be a scary change, but I’m glad to hear that it’s opened new doors for you.

  • E.M. July 25, 2014 on 8:45 pm

    I enjoyed the writing style here =). I can definitely relate. After moving, I made the decision to take some time off to figure out where I want to go in life. While I have more than enough saved up, there are tough days where I second-guess my decision. I hope things work out for you!

    • Addison Cash E.M. July 28, 2014 on 7:39 am

      Thanks for the kind words, E.M. I’m feeling optimistic!

  • Dividend Mantra July 26, 2014 on 4:02 am


    Change is hard. But sometimes change is necessary for us to grow. Complacency can kill the soul.

    I’ve completely reinvented myself over the last five years, and a lot of that reinvention obviously required change. And my life is 1,000 times better than it was before those changes. Focusing on financial independence, blogging, investing, living frugally, etc. It’s just been fantastic. It seemed like the easier choice was the status quo, but looking back on it I realize that was actually the more difficult road.

    Best wishes!

    • Addison Cash Dividend Mantra July 28, 2014 on 7:38 am

      Ah, you’re so right about complacency, friend. Your journey has definitely been an inspiring during this difficult time.

  • Lauren July 26, 2014 on 3:25 pm

    Change is scary, but it can also be exciting. I love change, and I get bored very easily when things stay the same for too long. I’m always plotting and planning for the next thing. Sometimes you just have to jump without looking over the ledge. Best of luck to you!

    • Addison Cash Lauren July 28, 2014 on 7:37 am

      Thanks for sharing that point of view, Lauren! You’re totally right. Change can be exciting. Jumping without looking over the ledge absolutely describes my current situation.

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods July 27, 2014 on 1:22 pm

    You know, every time I’ve made a huge change (for me, it’s usually been uprooting and moving to a brand new city & job), after I’ve settled into the new place, I always think “why did it take me so long to do this?!” You hit the nail on the head with “Why is it that we’re so worried about worsening an already dire situation?” I think that’s an answer in and of itself. If you’re in a situation that’s dire or dangerous or that you just don’t like, try something different. I’m a worrier so I always devote an inordinate amount of time stressing over a big decision, but then at least I feel I’ve considered all my options before taking the plunge. Best of luck to you and I hope you’ll keep us posted!

    • Addison Cash Mrs. Frugalwoods July 28, 2014 on 7:36 am

      Thanks for sharing, Mrs. Frugalwoods. Change has always been a challenge for me and I often stay in unhealthy situations a lot longer than I should because of it!

  • Robert Main July 27, 2014 on 9:37 pm

    Changes are doors to opportunities.
    Good luck!
    Have a good weekend

    • Addison Cash Robert Main July 28, 2014 on 7:35 am

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Robert. Have a fantastic week.

  • Dividend Diplomats July 27, 2014 on 9:01 pm


    I am loving this post. Truly it is motivating and makes you think and realize that you need to “go after” what you want in life, as you will end up letting moments, events, experiences slip by. Need to be pressured into change-type situation, as that expands your mind and helps you grow in an entirely different way. This goes with meeting new people, trying new things, eating different foods even –> all about stepping out of your comfort zone and ultimately challenging yourself. I like it.


    • Addison Cash Dividend Diplomats July 28, 2014 on 7:35 am

      Thanks for the kind words, Lanny! You are totally right about stepping outside of your comfort zone.

  • Zee @ Work-To-Not-Work July 27, 2014 on 11:42 pm

    I feel like my life always feels like this. I don’t like to settle for things. If something starts feeling too normal then I think to myself that it could somehow be better than this new normal.

    It’s scary every time I make a major change though, relationships, living situations, jobs… Every time I feel like what I have done was for the better though. Perhaps it might take a month or two to start to really agree that it was the right thing to do but if your head is already starting to question it, then I find it’s usually time to make the change.

    Good luck!

    • Addison Cash Zee @ Work-To-Not-Work July 28, 2014 on 7:34 am

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, Zee. It will definitely take time.

  • Ryan @ Impersonal Finance July 28, 2014 on 1:23 pm

    I think we all have to get turned upside down at some point Addison. It can be hard, because that pot we’ve lived in can be comfortable, and we know it as home. But if you’re willing to take the risk, I think the reward can be better. That plant may live for years now, and years beyond you or I. That’s a good thought to have, at least in my opinion.

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