Starting Fresh Takes Its Own Courage

I missed my weekly posting last week, and nearly allowed myself to miss this week’s. I am in a major transition between one phase of life into a new one, and many things are changing personally, professionally, and socially. All of this is positive movement toward my goals, and I feel an inner pressure to present only a joyful, confident face to go with this. There is a fear that if I show any sense of the underlying vulnerability, insecurity, and grief, then that may mean I’m defective, or made a bad choice.

While free writing, I wrote something like the title of this post, and realized one of the characteristics of change and starting fresh. There is a comfort in staying stuck in patterns, relationships, or circumstances, even the ones that no longer work, that are harmful, that inspire self-doubt and despair, or simply feel stagnant and need to change. There is a fear of what might happen if there is change.

Stepping into the unknown change takes courage. So does the steps after. We move into a new neighborhood and don’t know the people, don’t know where the grocery store is, don’t know how to get to all the things we need. We start a new job and don’t understand the politics, the job is new, the technology and responsibilities are different. We risk meeting a new person for friendship or intimacy and don’t know their sense of humor, whether a particular joke is a compliment or insult, where their pet peeves and preferences lie. And we have to do all this work to discover those things outside of ourselves while continually deciding whether to stay open and vulnerable in revealing our own  preferences, wishes, opinions, insights.

I’m not a believer in getting rid of fear, if only because I have not discovered the way. For me, courage is this recognition of the fear and vulnerability and continuing on regardless. I have done it before and survived. Now I might think well about my past jobs, relationships, and lives, and even miss some of the comfort and joy of them, but I was just as scared and vulnerable when I began those.

Perhaps this is only scary for some. I have met people who seem to thrive on such change, but I only know their outward faces and did not know what was in their hearts.

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