New beginnings have a way of defining us. We begin new jobs, new family structures, new habits, and new visions. There is refreshment in starting something that has been unseen and unexplored. But starting again does not necessarily mean starting over.
When I was young I lived with the assumption that every time I had to start something I was starting over. This mentality carried me into my 20’s and 30’s as I worked and began to raise a family. While there is value in starting from a clean slate, the misconception of starting over can be a tremendous hurdle to forward growth.
As we grow and age there is value in our past. Wisdom comes from living a life with trials and disappointments. Mountaintops and valleys. We work through our difficulties and we grow despite them. This becomes engrained in us and a part of who we are.
When I am talking to my kids about new beginnings, or facing a challenge of a fresh start in my personal life, I find that in remembering the lessons learned are invaluable to the success of the future.
Did I learn what was important to me?
Have I developed character qualities of perseverance, patience, and kindness because of my experience?
What areas did I find I can grow and set more focused goals?
Focusing on these goals and remembering that this “fresh slate” is actually a building block of my story reminds me that starting again isn’t really starting over.
Seasons of life come and go. Each one has a rhythm of its own and each one brings forth beauty unique to our own story.
Let this New Year be one of remembering the hard we have been through. Leaning into the lessons we learned, attitudes we confronted, and beauty we witnessed in the human spirit.
In remembering the kindness and grace, we can start again without starting over.