For someone like me, who has always enjoyed the idea of starting fresh or wiping the slate clean, a new year brings a buzz of excitement and opportunity. It takes me back to all the do-overs that were a natural part of childhood. Things like a new school year, complete with freshly sharpened pencils and blank pages of notebook paper as well as a pool of potential new friends.
A couple of years ago, I started volunteering as a mentor at a local elementary school. Since then, I’ve forged a friendship with a little girl who is now in the fifth grade. At the end of this school year, she’ll ‘graduate’ and start next fall as a sixth grader at a nearby middle school.
When I recently asked her if she was nervous or excited to change schools, she told me that she was looking forward to leaving her elementary school because of some less-than-great memories it held for her. When I pushed the issue, worried she was referring to bullying or some other problems I wasn’t aware of, she said, “just things like that time I slipped and fell, and other embarrassing things that happened while I was at the school.”
I’m something of a perfectionist so the idea of having a chance to start completely from scratch, while wiping away all the previous false starts and mistakes, is very appealing.
It’s normal to want to leave uncomfortable things in the past. I have a lot of embarrassing things I’ve done, said or believed that I’d like to leave behind me and never look back on.
The problem is, you can’t ever really start over. Because every minute of your life up to this moment has been part of this wonderful, difficult, silly, challenging, joyful, tragic, glorious meaningful existence you’re having.
And everything you have done and said and heard and have been told and believed has been part of your experience.
When wiping the proverbial slate clean, who’s to say that you might not accidentally get rid of something you needed? Something that was helping to shape the person you are.
But on the other hand, every new day and each minute it brings is a chance to begin again. To begin practicing joy and gratitude. To begin paying attention to those around us. To begin giving ourselves grace and allowing ourselves to be our perfectly imperfect, sometimes brilliant, sometimes embarrassing selves.
We don’t have to wait until a new year to do anything we’ve been wanting to try.
What’s stirring in your heart these days? Maybe it’s a new business venture or a new direction with your current business. Perhaps you’ve been sitting on the idea for a creative project or collaboration. What are you waiting for? The world needs your unique point of view.
Maybe for you, it’s a mindset shift or a new health practice that would benefit your spirit/mind/body. Just try it! What have you got to lose?
We’re all here cheering you on. And even if you slip and fall, we’ll all be here to help you back up.
Wishing you a most amazing 2020!