Do you ever feel like that kid who’s happily coloring away, seemingly fine with their work, and then suddenly you stop, stare down, and for whatever reason, you want to crumple up your paper and begin again?
Some days, it seems like life would just be easier if you could start fresh~ tossing the current frustrations and escaping to a better life.
Then you actually start trying to make the change….and it turns out to be really friggen hard.
While I firmly believe that escape is possible (I once had a blog by that name) the thing is, you can’t escape yourself.
I’ve picked up and moved myself to completely new towns hundreds of miles away, not once or twice, but four times just between the ages of 18 and 21~ and each one of those times, I was hoping to get away from some part of my life that I thought sucked.
I’m not sure if no one told me, or if I just didn’t listen, but somehow I failed to connect the fact that no matter where I went, I’d still be bringing myself and all my same old issues with me.
But at that point in life, it was easier to change where I lived than to actually change myself. Not everybody is ready for zen-like philosophies about change coming from within.
It’s different when starting over comes in the form of a cultural right of passage~ like when you graduate college or become a parent or get a real grown up job~ Everyone expects those things to somehow change your life and they do, making you adult in new and different and sometimes really difficult ways.
At least when the new version of life is culturally expected it usually comes with some community support. People throw you parties and bring you food, and it helps.
But when we just up and choose to change our lives because we want to, you’re more likely to be on your own for that kind of thing.
For some people, it’s quitting drinking or going vegan. For me, changing careers and deciding to channel Ma Ingalls and move to the mountains with my children and goats, or deciding after a few years later that I had learned my lessons and was ready to rejoin the world with electricity on demand and machines to wash our dishes, or even deciding to skip the regular school path and homeschool my kids~ those were all conscious, even if mildly naïve, choices to change my life path.
I had friends and family who were encouraging, but since most of them couldn’t understand what I was thinking, they didn’t really have any concrete ways to support us.
Nobody throws you a “Whoohoo~ You’re not sending your kids off to school, but taking a huge gamble on your own sanity and financial future along with their education” party ...that’s for sure.
Perhaps the hardest times are when life throws changes that hit you in the side of the head, knock you on your bootie and make you start over in ways that terrify you.
Divorce, after almost 20 years of marriage, was a bit like that for me. In the end, it ended up being the absolute right thing to do, and we are all soooooo much happier and better off now.
Years later, I can say that if there was a polite way to thank my kids dad for being brave enough to make that choice to leave, I would do it, but at the time, I was borderline petrified to the point of nausea, loss of appetite and sleep and general panic.
I'll readily admit that I have a lot to learn when it comes to handling stress, and under large amounts of it, I often resemble a drug-free tweaker, but with all my teeth.
Or, I turn into a raging she-hulk with a spinning head that shoots fire. That’s not exactly a healthy option either, but still.. I think the Hindu Goddess Kali might be onto something....maybe sometimes it takes burning away the old to create room for the new to grow?
For some people who’ve crossed the 40 year line, a mid-life crisis is a popular option to get big life change going, and that often involves burning bridges...
I’m sure it’s not exactly a conscious choice most of the time, but nevertheless, I’m hoping to avoid that path myself, and am crossing my fingers that all my prior life re-makes will provide a buffer. Plus, thank Goodness I have a few good friends who would love me enough to knock me upside the head if I were headed down a path of stupid crazy.
Still, I sometimes feel the need to just scratch everything and begin again~ not just for me personally, but so I can actually be useful with what matters to me in the world.
It wasn’t meant to be a big life changing thing, but I recently had the idea of revamping my blog, and pulling years and years worth of writing behind the scenes so it can be sorted, cleaned up and organized.
The idea was to just cut the clutter and make it easier for you to be able to find things here. The reality is that it’s gonna be a really friggen big and time consuming job.
Which takes me right back to where I started~ when you go to actually make a change, it often turns out to be a whole lotta work.
It’s easy to get excited about the idea of a clean slate. What’s not so simple is actually starting over.
But here I am starting over.
We all do it time and time again~ some more than others, but in one way or another, every one of us will go through times where old parts of ourselves die off (or we have to ax them) to make room for the new and hopefully improved version~ new jobs, new social scene, new roles, new kids, new partners, new towns, new friends.
However it happens, starting over is hard~ time after time.
Sometimes it’s all worth it, and other times...well... change just sounded like a much better idea than it actually turned out to be. But, you don’t get to find out until after you’ve actually gone through it.
While going through some of my life’s hardest changes, I felt like a horribly pruned rose bush that had been whacked back to nothing but some old thorny twigs sticking out of the dirt. But eventually, as the seasons moved on and I got sunshine and water, I blossomed again.
For now, I’m trying to avoid thinking about all the pruning I need to do to sort out years worth of rambling writings, and I’m going with the theory that starting over with Zesty Mom will be worth it~ that I’ll be able to provide a better experience for everyone who visits.
Please do be patient in the process~ I’m learning as I go.
Even more important, please be patient with yourself with whatever life changes you’re going through right now too.
Whether you chose them yourself, or life chose to whack you in the head with them, just keep breathing and keep going. Or curl up and rest a bit if you need to, but do get going again sometime.
Life is full of seasons, and they might not always come in order, but if you do the work of planting, spring always arrives. And if you keep tending, you’ll probably get some sort of harvest too.
What kind of changes are happening for you, and how are you handling them? Let me know in the comments below.
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