It's Okay to Start Over, Again...
Starting over, like change, is inevitable. We live in a culture that teaches us to evaluate our lives by meeting expectations that justify each decade of life. Do this by age twenty-five. A person should be at a particular stage of life by age forty. If you don’t do this or that by age 50, you are a failure.
But what happens when expectations are not met by the deadline society forces on us? What happens when the day arrives that finds one waking up to the realization that expectations, like people, ambitiously evolve?
For many, this day is representative of a season. Triggered by the audacity of life happenstance, this season becomes the jarring wake-up call you didn’t know you needed. That is how one lands on the map in the spot designated “↑You Are Here”. Here is the starting point. The place where the new you meet the old you and all the personalities in-between that come with evolving.
Starting over means making a choice to keep going. A choice to hope, seize and create opportunity and live joyously; because, what else is there to do when you’ve made it this far? Giving up is not an option making starting over the chosen path. So, it begins.
The start of a fresh perspective, open-mind and motivation to try the unimaginable. However, starting over is not always easy. Sure, it may be a breeze for the detached personality that never allows emotions room to breathe. For many, maybe most, there are levels to the concept of a new beginning. Before one can start over, there are usually three phases that are experienced first.
The first phase is reflection. It is important to review the circumstances and events that brought about this shift. What happened? How do you feel about what took place? What did you learn from this experience? What are the benefits of shifting your perspective? Reflection should be done with an open heart and mind, along with an understanding that growth does not happen overnight.
The second phase is grief. Once the situation has been analyzed thoroughly, it is natural to grieve hurtful events, unmet expectations and shattered dreams. It is okay to grieve the life you had planned for yourself and the changes that you were unprepared to make. The grieving process is necessary and should be expressed freely in a healthy manner to prevent the stain of unhealed trauma. Once grief has been expelled from your system, it is time for acceptance, the third phase.
Acceptance that now is the time for a new normal, a new outlook on life and the optimism to face it. When a person accepts where they have been and where they are, the path forward can be met with clarity. Fresh ideas come to the forefront. Excitement brews at the thought of traveling to an unknown destination. Creativity soars fueled by the motivation to discover where it will venture. You are ready to start over.
Be mindful the phases of reflection, grief and acceptance may not happen quickly. Each phase is a season, and seasons do not follow our mortal methods of counting time. It is a spiritual thing. I have learned that the best thing to do is work through each phase, showing yourself grace along the way. Avoiding them only amplifies any pain that lingers inside.
It took me some time to accept the fact that I have been in the starting over season for the last three years. I lived through each phase and dealt with the eclectic mix of seasoning life offered me as it presented itself. Now I am cultivating the life I want, making the necessary adjustments for the things I cannot control. This season has taught me that I have the tenacity to switch and pivot no matter how much I stumble and fall. Most importantly, it taught me to forgive myself for not meeting the expectations I had set for myself. In this season of new beginnings, I am starting a new school year, a new business and a renewed perspective of my purpose to be a good steward of the gifts God has blessed me with.
A health crisis triggered my season of change. Some people enter their season of change as a result of evolving. Whatever brought you to this point, count your blessings as you go forward. Remember, God’s grace and mercy will keep you even when God’s timing is beyond our understanding. You will reap the benefits of gratitude whether you realize it or not. Today is a good day to have a great day. Get started ☺