Clean and Fresh

2010 October 14

Friday Philosophizing comes early this week! I ask open-ended questions. You answer. There will be tea, but not Earl Grey because that’s just wrong.

Photo by dragonflysky

What is a fresh start?

Does it involve beginning again or beginning something completely different? In my mind, there’s a definite difference between starting over in order to rebuild the life or circumstances you once had (after a divorce, natural disaster, serious illness, etc.) and deciding to take your life in a completely different direction from what you’ve been doing. Going off to college is a fresh start, while rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina is starting over. Dig?

How often do we long for a fresh start, but end up unwittingly recreating the same patterns and habits and lifestyle in a new city, at a new job, with a new partner? And then wonder only a few months down the road why everything seems so achingly familiar and why we’re battling the same issues and emotions that dogged us before we tried to wipe the slate clean? Really, we ask, how far do we have to get away and how much do we have to throw out  for things to finally look and feel new?

Is a true fresh start possible? What sort of change does it entail?*

*Not rhetorical. Gimme your answers in the comments!

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5 Responses
  1. 2010 October 14
    Ty Unglebower permalink

    A fresh start is more possible, the further you are away from your previous fears, hang-ups, crutches, and difficulties. They may never be completely gone, but if you move out of your sister’s house, only to bunk in your brother’s house across town, how many of your problems are going to be solved that way?

    This is why it is particularly important to specifically identify what you fears and hang-ups and such are. You must immerse yourself in them for a while, (which nobody wants to do) so that you can then say, “Here is what my problem has been.” And when you proceed to your fresh start, whatever form it takes, you can make sure to build a scenario around the goal of avoiding those particular problems. (Or a goal of destroying them once and for all.)

    I don’t know that we fall into the same bad patterns and unfulfilling routines wherever we go because they are everywhere. Nor because they follow us. I think it is more that when we attempt to start over by getting a new job or moving to a new city, we have not properly identified what the problems were in the first place. So naturally things recur when we start over, because we never actually addressed the REAL issues in the first place. We just assume a change of venue will take care of it.

    My mother is a retired nurse. And one thing she always reminds her children if they ever get prescribed an antibiotic for something is to finish off the entire bottle. No matter how good you start feeling one day, even if you are back to 100%, always continue to take the medicine until it runs out. Because the virus, or whatever, that it is fighting isn’t totally gone until you do so. And if you stop, and it creeps back into full strength, you’ll feel like shit again.

    I see these patterns as viruses sometimes. You think after a new sex partner, a new house, a new job, or a chance to travel, you have licked whatever is licking you. But in reality it was just lying dormant for a while. Follow through and identify the virus, and continue to take the medicine. THEN, I do believe a fresh start is possible.

  2. 2010 October 14

    What an interesting discussion.

    YES! A fresh start is possible. You have to constantly battle the desire to rebuild though– patterns and habits are difficult to change, as they are often your default actions based on your personality and perceived strengths.

    A major problem: I see many people in the United States fall into patterns of convenience. We do things a certain way because it is easy / inexpensive / expected.

    In my own personal life, I am working on a fresh start for a photography business in a changing world. Even after a year-long sabbatical, I have to willfully fight the things that burnt me out before.

  3. 2010 October 14
    Coggie permalink

    You’ve tapped into my ongoing psyche again. I’ve been wondering this about myself and others, specifically those of us who’ve survived, are surviving or are in denial about church spirituality that hypocritical of institutions. So many of us proclaim we’ve been washed clean by the blood of Christ (yes, that statement skeeves me out), etc., yet we’re still the same, still self righteously sinful, still spouting King David/Psalms as rationalizations for our enlightened behaviors that remain as backward, self-serving, and arrogant as ever.

    Truly starting over (reborn, ugh) is quiet and kept to oneself, until others (if only rarely) notice. I have been guilty of falling into the same patterns. But in baby steps, I have departed from the backward evolution from whence I came. That includes hiding behind the Bible.

  4. 2010 October 14
    Anonymous permalink

    I think there really is a lot of merit in the saying about those who don’t learn from history being doomed to repeat it. As you said, I think we often use a new whatever as a proxy for doing the work of addressing the issue that we think said whatever will solve and then end up disgruntled/stymied/looking for a scapegoat when this isn’t the case. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  5. 2010 October 14
    Anonymous permalink

    I think convenience, which goes hand in hand with familiarity, is definitely a big part of it. It’s easier to revert to what we know and what we’ve invested time/energy/resources into (no one likes a sunk cost after all) vs. trying to break with the past completely.