The idea of starting over in life is a scary prospect. Letting go of our old ways is uncomfortable, but if you have no other choice than to reboot, the only way forward is through. You must let go of your excuses and gather the courage to step into the unknown. By taking these steps, you’ll get to the other side feeling grateful for the conditions your new life brings and learn that it’s never too late to start over. (Estimated reading time: 7 minutes)
“Reinvent yourself over and over and over and over and over until you find home. There is no timeline for the soul.”— Malebo Sephodi
If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve experienced points in your life where everything seemed to be falling apart. An unexpected turn of events may have led to a misfortune that crumbled your world.
Whether the event was the loss of a loved one, divorce, being fired from your job, or the failure of a business you started, coming to terms with reality was painful and unmanageable.
In the haze of our confusion and disappointment, we wonder if we’ll ever recover and move on from a tragic episode. We ask ourselves, “what’s next” or “what do I do now?”
As crippling as our fear of the unknowns is, we must first give ourselves permission to feel the pain and acknowledge our loss before we can see what’s ahead of us.
We must believe that we deserve another chance at happiness and that we have everything it takes to get back on our feet and thrive. We have to believe that it’s never too late to start over.
Saying goodbye to the old
The notion of renewal permeates every corner of the universe.
Stars die only to be reborn with the same galactic matter, snakes shed their skin and grow a new layer, and seasonal changes bring spring every year for us to enjoy the smells of fresh blooms and bask in the sunshine after a cold and dreary winter.
In the same vein, humans go through cycles of renewal where one thing in our lives ends, making room for something new to blossom. It’s an inevitable and necessary part of our existence, yet, many of us resist walking through these cycles of change.
Our ego wants us to hold onto the dreams of “what could have been” and control our circumstances. We’re convinced that by clinging to the past, we can somehow turn things around. We hope that by hanging on just a little longer, things will get better by default.
Even if you know that you can’t change the past and go back to the old, you have no idea how to start over. If you find yourself in a situation like this, be kind to yourself. Nobody likes to start over. The resistance you’re experiencing is natural, especially if you’ve invested your heart.
But, if you have no other choice but to reboot, the only way forward is through. Like a valiant prince, you’ll have to charge through the dark and murky forest, filled with perils as you battle both your inner and outer demons to finally reach your castle.
Courage and a change in perception will release you from the bondage of your past. As Maya Angelou once said, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
Resurrection: Life after “death”
Our hesitancy to start over activates a primal fear that most humans share: the fear of death. On some level, we feel the need to bury our memories and kill the dreams that were once centered around a person, opportunity, or career path we’re leaving behind.
But these passageways aren’t leading us to a sarcophagus, they are leading us to a phase of transition. In Ancient Egyptian culture, they believed that death was only the beginning of a person’s soul journey. That’s why great care was taken in performing after-life rites, prayers, and ceremonies.
According to Egyptian beliefs, the soul would leave the body after death, take the form of a bird, and join the path of the sun god “Ra.” They revered the sun as the ruler of everything as it represented light, warmth, and growth. The only way to be reborn was if the bird found its way to the mummy and merged with it.
Whether or not you believe in life after death or if we take another form after our last breath, I believe that the Ancient Egyptians belief in immortality is the perfect metaphor for the cycles of birth and rebirth we experience during our Earthly journey.
Whenever we experience the death of one phase of our lives, we can feel a lot better if we remind ourselves that “death is only the beginning,” and that the sun will once again shine upon us.
Pushing past the resistance
Change is scary. We’re never sure about what’s in store for us in the future, which can paralyze us. It causes us to make all kinds of excuses as to why it’s too late for us to start over.
If we’re really being honest with ourselves, however, we’ll find that these excuses are nothing but the protective shell we wear to shield us from uncertainty and need to make an effort to change.
What if we changed our “all or nothing” approach that fuels our fear-based narratives and replaced it with empowering thoughts that opened us to new possibilities, such as:
- “Life is full of opportunities to experience love, abundance, and happiness that I can access.”
- “Starting over is not a sign of failure but of my strength and courage.”
- “I’m not broken, I’m becoming more of myself.”
- “I trust that the future has something better in store for me.”
- “I’ll make better decisions because I’m wiser, stronger, and more self-aware.”
- “Doors will open if I’m committed to doing whatever it takes to improve my situation.”
- “Having another chance at life is exciting and offers a brand new chance for me to get it right.”
- “I’m grateful to have a chance to reinvent myself and experience something (or someone) new.”
As the custodian of your mind, it is you who sets the parameters for how far you’ll go in life. It is you who decides whether you’ll break free from the limitations that enslave you and empower you to take charge of your circumstances and become an active co-creator of your life. It is you who believes in the promise of a better tomorrow.
Easy does it: Take small steps towards a new direction
Starting over begins with aligning our actions with our intentions. On the outset, the change that lies ahead of us may appear gargantuan and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.
You can make it easier by breaking it down into small, manageable steps that will help you gradually inch towards where you want to go.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, and it rarely turns out well if you rush the process. You’ll have to plant the seeds months or even years ahead of time so that they can sprout at the right time.
You’ll find that the tiny shifts you make every day build momentum as time goes by. After a while, they become a force of their own – they break down blocks and draw the life that you desire.
Let’s debunk the five most common excuses people make to avoid starting over. If you can relate to any of these, use the specific tips to help you push through.
Time – “It’s too late to start over because I don’t have enough time.”
Whenever you tell yourself that you don’t have enough time to start over, you can be sure that it’s your subconscious fear running the show. The truth is that if you’re committed and organized, you will find the time to make it happen. If time is your excuse, look within to see what’s blocking you from prioritizing doing what you know will take you in a better direction.
Money – “It’s too late to start over because it’s going to cost a lot.”
Sometimes starting over may involve a financial investment, like going back to college. In cases like this, we need to question whether we value our long-term happiness enough to make the sacrifice. Figure out if it’s possible to shore up funds without disrupting your basic needs and address deep-rooted fears about money that may be stopping you.
Age – “It’s too late to start over because I’m too old.”
When it comes to starting over, age is just a number. It’s a social construct that can trap and restrict you if you believe in it. Many people make changes in their lives at all ages. As long as you’re breathing, you always have the chance to begin anew.
Convenience – “It’s too late to start over because it’s just going to take a lot of effort.”
If you find yourself concerned about the amount of work that you’ll need to put into turning your ship around, ask yourself if there are ways to make it more manageable, like delegating tasks to others. Focus on the rewards of starting over versus the temporary discomfort.
Other people – “It’s too late to start over because others are not going to like it.”
If you’re worried about what others will say about your decision to start over, it’s worth asking if their approval really matters in the big picture. After all, it is your life, and the choices you make are going to impact you the most. Most people will eventually come around, and the ones who don’t aren’t worth having in your life if they can’t support your decisions.
Often what appears to be the end of the road is actually a bend. If we’re willing to expand our vision and set our sights on what lies further down the road, we’ll see that there are so many more grand adventures awaiting us. All we need to do is believe and keep moving forward with the knowledge that it’s never too late to start over.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: Do you believe it’s never too late to start over? Does your belief help you make decisions that are conducive to your growth and happiness?
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