I am starting over. Saying that I am starting over, I think, is the hardest part.
We have come to a point in society that “starting over” connotes, “I made a mistake.” I think about being in elementary school and doing an activity wrong. The teacher would sweetly say, “It’s okay, you can start over,” basically implying that although you have a second chance, you messed up the first time.
Since we are social creatures and are always explaining our story to family, friends, and coworkers, starting over is almost like admitting that there is something you did that could not make the cut, and it becomes a self-defeating process.
What I never realized until now is that we are constantly in a state of starting over. When you finish a semester, move cities, end a relationship- you have to begin anew, hit the refresh button.
What I also never realized is that although “starting over” connotes a blank slate, the slate is still a part of you, and never leaves you. Every experience you have makes you that much more equipped and ready to handle that blank slate, and gives you more practice and experience for whatever life throws at you.
For me, the notion of starting over gives me serious trust issues with myself. While living in the present, unaware of the future, all I can think about is that I somehow had the wrong gut feeling, and, instead of having conviction, was entirely confused in my decision process.
I start to look back at the past, analyzing every single decision, figuring out why I made it and how it affected me. I start the Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda debate in my head, living in a perpetual state of “what if.”
This questioning then leads me to question my present decisions, completely overanalyzing every factor in order to “not mess up again.” So, instead of hitting the start button, all I get to is “over,” a word that means final, and here lies the problem.
In order to start over, you have to start. This fear of the unknown, a new territory, caused me to delay moving forward because it was easier to just wait and see what happened, and no surprise nothing happened at all.
I made no initiatives, no changes, even though I knew I was wrong, and pushed the whole process to the future where I never had to confront it. At 25, I do not want to accept the failure and the name that goes with it. Because of this, however, I continue to stay in that state.
The state then starts to eat you, and the snowball effect is wasted time and a declining self-esteem. So, because of the inherent fear of “starting over,” you live in a limbo that never brings you forward.
Starting over to me now is an opportunity. By changing my mindset, I dropped the fear of the future and instead embraced the unknown. While some events can be over, the lessons from them stay with you always. Once you wrap your head around that, failure instead turns into a positive word.
It means that you tried something and had the courage to realize when it was not working that it was okay to hit the stop button, and either try again, or take what you learned and move forward. Starting over takes strength, it takes self-realization and it takes a whole lot of courage.
Once you hit that button, you open a brand new door of new possibilities, and if you shift from fear to hope, you may just surprise yourself with what you do.