The Art of Starting Over

Starting over can either be exciting or daunting.

You’re more than happy to do it if it gives you the chance to make things better:

“I’ve made a mess of this, but I learned so much. I’m just going to start over and this time, it’ll be perfect.”

It annoys you when circumstance forces you to do it:

“Damn it! Look what you made me do! Now I have to start over!”

Like it or not, most of the do-overs in our lives fall into the second category. We start over when we encounter a setback, and as we all know, life is full of setbacks. When we’re wallowing or grieving and our loved ones say we should move on, they’re actually saying we should start over.

We start over when we lose a job and have to find a new one.

We start over when work forces us to relocate to another city, state, or country, and have to find a new home and make new friends.

We start over when we lose a life partner, either through death or disagreement, and have to learn to live without someone who’s been a big part of our lives.

It doesn’t necessarily take tragedy to start over. Life transitions require it.

We start over when we graduate from high school and go off to college.

We start over when we get married.

We start over when we retire.

It can be as trivial as starting over a level in a video game, or as life-changing as starting over after getting released from prison.

But starting over can also be a key life strategy when done at the right time and for the right reasons.

Here are some situations when starting over would be considered a viable option:

Abusive Spouse Refuses To Change

We automatically think of physical mistreatment when we hear the word “abuse”, but chronic cheating by your other half can also be considered as such because they’re abusing your kindness and trust.

One or two missteps may deserve a second chance but years and years of unfaithfulness calls for nothing less than you ending the abusive relationship and starting over.

Needless to say, it’s worse when your partner hurts you physically. A couple of instances should be enough for you to call it quits and hit the reset button.

Keeping A Job You No Longer Enjoy

Some say we shouldn’t enjoy working because work isn’t supposed to be fun, but nothing can be farther from the truth.

A lot of people keep jobs they don’t like because of the pay, when they should be thinking:

If I can earn this much doing a job I hate, I can earn so much more doing a job I love.

If your job or the people you work with make you feel lonely, isolated, inadequate, or unappreciated, then maybe it’s time for a career reboot.

Project Not Going As Planned

It could be a poem, a car restoration venture, a small business, a stock market investment, or maybe a plot for world conquest. If it has become obvious that your plan is not working, then cutting your losses and starting over, making adjustments from the lessons you’ve learned, could be the right thing to do.

That’s easier said than done, of course. The mere act of determining if starting over is the best option is already difficult in itself. Many projects had been started over when minor tweaks could’ve steered them to success.

So tread with caution. Use your analytical skills. Consult the experts. Starting fresh may be an alluring choice, but it may also entail a lot of wasted time, money, and effort.

Addiction Has Taken Control Of Your Life

It could be one of the more common addictions like alcohol or drugs, but lesser known problems like unhealthy dependencies on food, sex, or shopping can also be as serious. You know you need to change something when your cravings are already getting in the way of your everyday life.

You can attempt to start over on your own, but addictions can be overwhelming and you may need help. If you’re ashamed to talk to someone about your problem, just think of the trouble you will save your loved ones if they’d have to organize an intervention.

Acknowledge your problem, get help, and start over.

We always dread starting over because we view it as doing things we’ve already done before, and the specter of tedium robs us of all enthusiasm. But that’s not necessarily true. When we do something for the succeeding times, we do it with new eyes and a fresh mindset, applying lessons we’ve learned in previous attempts, and seeing new details we may have missed.

Starting over is a crucial strategy, and an unavoidable hump on the road to perfection.