The Seduction of Starting Over
“Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job. And onward full tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another – that is surely the basic instinct . . . Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is.” – Barbara Kingslover
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of living abroad. After finally making my bucket list, I realized that international travel is one of my top priorities for my life before I “kick the bucket.” I’ve never been out of the U.S. for more than a week and I’d love to be able to leave DC for a while to just wander the globe for months at a time. I want to be able to take my laptop and work in cafes across the world. For me, this is one of my more immediate goals in terms of (re)designing my life. But it’s also a way for me to start over.
For the past 10 years (ever since I graduated high school), I’ve done everything I was *supposed* to do. I went to college, got good grades, held down jobs, paid my bills and basically maintained self-sufficiency. And now . . . now I’m ready to do all the things I *want* to do. Those things that I’ve only dreamed about in the past. Those bucket list items I wrote down just because I knew that they were NEVER gonna happen. But I’ve recently become very aware of just how possible it really is to reach those goals and create the life I want for myself. Now, I’m looking forward to where my newfound clarity will take me and excited about the whole process of starting over.
Have you ever wanted to start over?
I mean, a total overhaul of your life as it is now? I think if we’re honest with ourselves, those urges come to us many times at many different moments in our lives. After college, you’re probably excited by the possibility of your new professional life and career. Then you work at your first job for a few years and start feeling restless after awhile. Over time, you may begin longing for your younger days of fun and adventure. You might catch the travel bug. You may get a little wanderlusty. You might find yourself thinking about what it would be like to live somewhere else, take on a more challenging job or even start your own business. As even more time passes, you may long for a romantic partner or spouse to complement you in your journey. Ultimately, you might begin to wonder if there is more to life than what you’re currently experiencing.
This is the seduction of starting over.
There is this attractive idea that we can take a brand new job, meet a new person, or move away to a newer, more exciting place and completely change our lives forever. Or we could even look at the opposite – the loss of a job or the end of a relationship can also allow for a blank slate of new possibility for your life. Many people report feeling an immense sense of freedom – literally a weight being lifted off of their shoulders – when they either voluntarily or involuntarily give up their old life and routines for something new and unknown.
Why is starting over so sexy?
Well, for one thing it’s because this notion is absolutely true. By making just one change in your career, relationship status, living situation or even your emotional outlook, you can effectively start a new chapter in your life. You can begin to feel happier and more hopeful about your future.
The thought of starting over is so compelling to us because we all want to live our very best lives. No matter how hard we try to keep our heads down and be content with what we have . . . most of us know that we have the potential for so much more.
It’s something many people feel when they wake up in the morning dreading the fact that they have to go to work . . . again. Or on the way home on a long, inconvenient commute, wondering if this disappointing pattern will continue for the next 30 years. The good news, of course, is that it doesn’t have to.
Is it time for you to start over in some way? If so, what’s the first step you can take today?
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