Austin, it appears that you love the community that you live in. I say this because you say that it is difficult to “break free.”
Here is some food for thought…
If you don’t want to change your circumstance because you love your community, I encourage you to apply the words Peter Davis shared with us at the IDEA Convention. He said…
BE THE CHANGE.
The only way we can be the change is by surrounding ourselves with people who value what we value.
One thing that I thought was amazing when I was at the convention was the amount of people who traveled from different parts of California in order to be at the convention. Perhaps this is something you might consider. At IDEA World we are all surrounded by folks who value what we value.
The IDEA World Convention is designed to inspire us, renew us, invigorate us, so that we can share our newly acquired knowledge to others within our community. I hope you decide to come one year. If not IDEA World another event where you can be surrounded by people who share your same values.
I do hope this is of help to you.
Over the years, I have learned one lesson for myself: negativity can only impact me if I allow it to. It is very easy to chime in with general lamentation and join the club of those who choose to look at the dark side of everything they see.
Every time I look at something, I make a conscious decision of what aspect I want to look at. I found that there is always something positive, and that’s where I give my attention to.
If I feel myself surrounded by negativity, I picture myself in a bubble of positive energy, and I do not allow negativity to penetrate it. That does not mean that I am not aware of it but I decide not to make at a part of my person.
I look for positive individuals to surround myself with, and I noticed that people sometimes give my way of looking at things a chance. They usually find that they are much happier for it.
One last thing I apply with great energy: I do not gripe about things that are beyond my personal control. If I can change things, I’ll try and give it my best effort. If I cannot change the external circumstances, I try to change my attitude about it.
This is probably as generic an answer as it gets but it works for me in any situation. It was the path I decided to trod, and I will hope that you will find one that works equally well for you.