Every once in a while we get a hard reset (the biggest of them is also the last one, but that’s a story for another article). I’m talking about those hard resets we’re getting every few years. Being forced to start a new job, embracing a new relationship, or, if we’re talking about the entire planet, a pandemic, an event so powerful and thorough, that will bring everything to a halt, only to make room for a new beginning.
These hard resets are forcing us to start from scratch. And, although this sounds like the simplest thing in the world (how hard would it be to just move again?) well, in my experience, this is not that easy. Starting from scratch, or starting over, or taking up a new chance, all of this should be done wisely.
Because if we don’t start again wisely, we risk bumping into the same obstacles that forced the hard reset in the first place. We risk making the same mistakes again. We risk starting from scratch again, but in a circle.
Every experience is unique, every life story different, so there is no one size fits all approach. And yet, I think we can find a few general guidelines that will make these new beginnings a bit safer. Here’s what I remember working for me when I had my fair share of ups and downs.
1. Find The Lesson
If the hard reset didn’t come with a lesson, then something’s off. Like really off. Everything happens for a reason. Of course, sometimes the reason is you’re stupid and make the wrong choices, but even in this case, you should derive some meaning from it.
Focus on this meaning, try to understand it. Whatever disappeared from your life, disappeared for a reason and whatever appeared, appeared for a reason too. Integrate the loss and the gain in your life and make them both a part of the road from now on.
2. Process The Leftovers
Wether you’re starting from scratch after a huge loss, or you’re embarking suddenly in something totally new, there will still be some baggage, some skeletons in the closet, something that will drag you down somehow. Process these leftovers. See what deserves to be taken forward, and what you need to let go.
There is value in both, in still carrying precious stuff forward and letting go of the unnecessary, so choose wisely. Stay with yourself for a while, don’t rush, no matter how pressuring the situation may be. Breathe, look around and pack your bags as you will pack for a new adventure. Take only what will truly benefit you from now on.
3. Embrace Your Strengths
As time goes by, some skills you grow will always stay with you, no matter what. You will become more patient, more resilient, or more flexible. These are your strengths and, no matter what you lost, they will still be with you. Embrace them. Use them. Rely on them.
Because, as the path unfolds ahead of you, you will need them. You will have to rebuild, readjust or readapt, and that requires a lot of strength. Make sure you know what you have available before the journey starts.
4. Assess Your New Companions
Every start from scratch implies a change in our social circle. Some people will disappear, some will take some distance, and, probably, some of them will continue the journey with us. Take some time and try to understand these new companions before starting over.
More often than not, our decisions are influenced by our circle of friends. From subtle hints to strong peer-pressure, people around us are activating our buttons all the time. So, when a powerful fracture in our reality suddenly appears, make sure you go over it only with the right companions.
Starting from scratch can be an exhilarating or a traumatic experience.
Either way, keep in mind that the mere fact we get second chances in life is, basically, a miracle. Cherish that miracle.