A fresh start.
Blank pages. New canvases. The start of a new year, or month.
I love them.
There are times when I can feel myself itching for a fresh start, when something intangible feels like it’s weighing me down. Ordinarily, I can never put my finger on it, and a new hair cut or a change of paint color in a room will do the trick.
There are other times, however…
When I feel like I need a huge change. Those are the toughest to deal with. When I’m stuck in a rut, perhaps for weeks. I don’t know if I need to find a new job, start a giant project of some kind, or move clear across the country.
The problem is that there is no problem. I’m not depressed, I’m not frustrated with my work. I love my friends and neighbors, I love my family. I love living in Tennessee. My health is great, my child is thriving in school, with her peer group and in her activities. I have an active social life, I volunteer in my community. I have nothing to “escape” so to speak.
On top of my sometimes yearning for some kind of change, my husband has insatiable wanderlust, and so between the two of us, it’s not uncommon for us to have conversations like whether or not the schools in the Outer Banks (North Carolina) have girls golf teams and solid academic programs for our daughter, and, yes, it makes perfect sense to abandon our lives and move there to live on the beach right now and start fresh. (This conversation may or may not have happened just yesterday.)
Maybe we should stay here in our house in Nashville, but we should tear the roof and back side off of it and do a complete remodel because we want more natural light coming in.
My amateur (okay, less than amateur) understanding of psychology tells me that making some huge change won’t likely “fix” what it is we’re after.
So, what are we after? What makes us sometimes feel like running away from our lives and starting fresh?
Upon closer examination, it’s probably the management of our expectations. In this article on Psychology Today, the author explains that we’re sometimes harboring regret. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that being an issue I’m wrestling with right now, until I consider it further.
Am I living my life exactly how I expected I would be at this point? At this age? Well, admittedly, no.
I’m headed in the direction I intended to, but some days are harder than others, and lately, a lot harder. Things don’t move as quickly as I’d like them to, I run into more stumbling blocks than open doors, and my future seems littered with way too many unknowns.
It can make us doubt every decision we’re making, every path we’re presently on. Should I abandon this plan and make a new one? Am I doing everything all wrong? Or my favorite, is being an adult just way too hard? (By the way…yes, there are days when it is too hard, which is why I have to hide chocolate in my top desk drawer and still want my mom when I’m sick.)
According to the article, we’re likely needing to inventory what it is we’re thinking about. Do we need to clean house on the thoughts we’re lugging around with regard to what we haven’t done yet? Or thoughts surrounding what we have done that now feels like wasted years? Did we have expectations of ourselves that went unmet and we can’t give ourselves a break?
Not that having regrets is okay, because it’s not. But I have them. I sometimes look at being 40 now and think, “wow, way to tackle life, Jess. You’ve really done something with yourself. Maybe you could set even loftier goals for the next 40 years, perhaps something like, getting out of yoga pants before noon.”
Again, I’m no psychologist, but I’m guessing these thoughts would fall into the “unhealthy” category.
And I’m not alone. It turns out that Americans are the most unhappy people in the world. Yikes! I wouldn’t classify myself as being unhappy, but I definitely agree that I do a terrible job of managing my own expectations, and learning how to enjoy the simple things in life.
While I’m cleaning out closets and shelves this summer, it appears that I will also be doing some clearing of thought patterns and beliefs about what I should have done by now, and what I should be doing in the future.
I can’t speak for my husband. He will most likely have wanderlust until his dying day. But, wanderlust is probably not the same as wanting a fresh start. (Some humans by nature are still very nomadic.) As for now, we have no plans to uproot ourselves and move to anywhere, but I can see a fresh bedroom paint color in our very near future.
What about you? Do you ever have an urge to start fresh? Does a new outfit or a change of scenery help, or do you crave something larger? Why or why not? Leave your comments here or hit me up on Twitter.
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