I don’t say this glibly as an excuse to abdicate all responsibility for the choices we make in life; obviously they will have a massive impact on both our lives and those of the people around us. However, bad choices and mistakes don’t have to be the debilitating, crushing experiences that a lot of people seem to believe. I meet lots of people whose lives became derailed at some point and they remain frozen, surrounded by the carnage as though this has to be the final destination. But it doesn’t have
to be; they could always dust themselves off and make a fresh start.
I have been the queen of fresh starts for as long as I can remember. Other children’s hearts used to sink in despair at the thought of a new school year. Not me, every year come September, armed with my brand new stationary and school bag I would have a spring in my step, suffused with a sense of new beginnings and fresh starts. Predictably, by October the novelty had usually worn off but it didn’t matter because there would be other fresh starting points just around the corner.
New Year’s resolutions are almost a full time job for me all the way through December. I like to come up with at least five across a range of target areas. For example: Financial, personal and career. The fact that I have usually broken every single one by January 2nd is neither here nor there, planning fresh starts is a serious business and I even have a special notebook in which to record my projections. There are also long term goals which you can set at any time of the year and are particularly comforting when you are staring failure in the face and again a special notebook is always reassuring.
I used to be a big fan of the relocating fresh start but unfortunately as you get older it becomes more difficult to just up sticks and move. If you can though, let me tell you, there’s nothing more satisfying than physically distancing yourself from a situation that’s not working. Move countries if you have to but put those mistakes behind you and move on.
I know there are those who would say that this is just running away from a problem but it’s surely better that than wallowing as so many people seem inclined to do. The Tennessee William’s type characters who live a kind of suspended life, stuck at a point in time because they once made a mistake or had a bit of bad luck. Now, I love Tennessee Williams but what kind of life is that? Take my advice instead and suck it up, shed those mistakes like a snake sheds its skin and move on.
I am about to embark upon a new chapter in my life and people are queuing up to remind me that I have been here countless times before. Yes, I know that in six months time I will probably be destitute and right back at square one but who cares? At the moment, I am standing on the threshold where anything is possible.
If you are feeling dispirited or reeling from some terrible error of judgement that you have made, don’t despair. Pick yourself up, go out and buy yourself a notebook and start planning your fresh start. And if your blunder has been one of epic proportions, you can always skip town. It usually works for me.