I used to wish I was the girl who got it right the first time.
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The one who made the right decisions, and the right calls. The one who did things by the playbook and didn’t fail. That’s who I wanted to be.
I wanted to be that woman because I had the misconception that other women, other strong ladies, and mothers did that. They all got it right and did it the way they were supposed to. They followed the rules and for that they rarely if ever, failed.
Oh, how wrong I was.
When I left my ex-husband for the first time in 2011, I thought I was starting my life over. I had just had my second son. I was 21 and was slowly finding my way through what my dad would always call “the hard road.” I used to cry. A Lot.
I would get my then two-year-old to sleep and sit and rock his two-month-old brother. Then later, find myself on the broken futon that I used for a couch at the time, staring at my youngest as he slept in his swing and crying. It might’ve been postpartum depression, regardless there I was. There, I was feeling like a failure of a mother for giving my children a broken home. Broke and not having a degree like most of my childless peers were working. To be completely honest I felt like I was in a hole and I might never crawl out. “Where do I go from here?!” I whined.
(Enjoying this post? You might also like Comparison is the Thief Of Joy.)
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I Thought I was A Victim of My Circumstances
We lived in a two-bedroom apartment. I found a full-time job and worked my way up in what I thought would be a career. We bought a new car, and we moved into a house. And THEN my circumstances and income drastically changed and we again: Started Over.
Shortly after, I decided three years apart might’ve changed the outcome of a relationship with the boy’s father. I thought….maybe we were young? Perhaps we were just immature? Maybe our problems weren’t as significant as I thought they were? After a year together we got married. We “Started Over.” After another year–I left again. To Start Over.
See a pattern?
I’ve started my life over more times than anyone I know. Most recently I’ve chosen to view it from the perspective of “the Master of Starting over and Embracing Failure” rather than “the girl who fails so much she has to start over all the time.” You can read my other post about Why You’re Worth it, Here!
I feel it’s safe to assume you, my friend, my reader is on my page because you are longing to answer your question: “Should I Start over?” Or better yet, “Can I start over?” I am here to reply to you: Yes, you can, and here are the steps to do so:
Evaluate your Why.
Starting over doesn’t always mean wiping your slate clean entirely. In fact, I encourage you to take with you all the lessons you learned so far and apply them to your decision, but you do need to have a reasonable conviction as to WHY you want to begin again. For the betterment of your children? Your family? Will moving benefit you in some way? Could leaving your job be the best decision overall? If you start a blog will you create a new career? 😉 What is your Why?
Is this a complete 180-degree flip or just a sharp right turn?
What I mean by this question is: Are you remaking everything or just giving your life a facelift?
Are you ending your marriage or are you renewing your efforts?
Are you completely changing direction or are you just applying efficiency and new goals to the path you are on?
Is this a complete Fresh Start or just a Renewed Beginning. There are pros and cons to both.
Forgive yourself and Embrace your Past Failures.
Forgive yourself for all the mistakes you’ve made in the past. The things you’ve held onto, the mistakes you hate reliving. Forgive yourself for them but NEVER forget them. These mistakes are what make you who you are; they will be what helps you to succeed ultimately. Ignoring them could be your demise. But to move on with your life, to “begin again” you have to forgive yourself for making them. Call it immaturity, call it a learning curve, whatever it is. It’s in the past, and you are older, wiser and on a new path. You’re not taking those self-doubts with you.
Make a Plan.
I can’t stress this enough. I know these days, people thoroughly enjoy being spontaneous and decide to jump ship. Let their mortgage go, walk away from their job and start backpacking through Europe.
That’s fantastic! I applaud all my spontaneous adventurists but please, if you want to have success with this new start at least plan out the significant details. How will you make money? How will you eat? These might sound silly but for my big dreamers think of it all before you leap. What will happen if you get sick? Have a plan and a backup plan. If you are ending your relationship, you need to think of the worst case scenario and best case and try to prepare for any outcomes. This step will make or break your success.
Include Failure In Your Plan.
What if you fail? Well, Failure is a part of life. If giving up as soon as things don’t go as planned is your previous pattern then what will you do different this time? When you plan to fail, you are planning to adapt. Adaptability will become your most reliable trait if you let it.
You might be surprised to learn that Overcoming Failure is one of the most crucial characteristics of those with a lot of success.
So how does a new beginning look? It can look like any of the following:
Beginning or Ending a Relationship
Starting a New Business
A New School
Starting a new Hobby
Buying a Home
Renting a Home
Switching Education Majors
Or Many Many other things
In whatever form it is, is never easy. Don’t let someone try to tell you that it is. I can tell you that if you decide to do it enough times eventually, you will get it right. Something will click, and your fresh start will become your story to tell. Your very own “Here is how I got here…”
For a little inspiration:
Oprah Winfrey’s first television show was a failure. She was blamed for it. Naturally, she started over and has the HUGE success she does now.
Ellen Degeneres had to embrace failure and start over after she Came Out on television and she is now one of the most influential women on TV.
Halle Berry was once in a violent domestic relationship. She got out, started her life over and is one of Hollywood’s most well-known actresses.
Also, Joyce Banda was also once married to an abusive man, walked out of the marriage, started over and eventually became Malawi’s First Female President.
Jessica McCabe of the YouTube Channel How To ADHD (LOVE HER! Btw) only started it after she failed many jobs, dropped out of college and moved home. She started over and was featured in a TedxTalk.
As if that wasn’t enough:
I can be cliche and remind you of the always evident Thomas Edison and the Lightbulb.
So; Cheers to failure and it’s never ending gift of the Opportunity to Begin Again.
May you fail enough times in your life you learn to Embrace it and Start Over and ultimately have success from it.
Where did my failure bring me? It brought me here, to you writing this post. Doing the thing I love most and inspiring women to do something they love most. As a result, I am making this blog my career, and I am learning that this likely will not be my last New Beginning. Therefore I have since embraced the failure that brought me here. We are good friends. My past makes me relatable to those who don’t want to talk about their mistakes yet and the ability to fill others with the hope that one day they will get here as well. The place they are supposed to be, the place in their life that helps them look back on all their “mistakes” and understand the reason they had them.
I don’t cry anymore.
One day, you won’t either.