Monday, May 21, 2012

"I don't want to start over..."

I hear this phrase a lot when I talk to people who can't decide what they want from their relationships. I've uttered it myself a time or two.

"I don't want to start over..."

It's hard not to resist starting over, because the phrase "starting over" could easily be re-phrased to "total fucking life upheaval." We all prefer the path of least resistance 90% of the time, so the thought of starting fresh, out of a relationship, on your own, is just a tiring thought.

Starting over means dividing up the stuff, figuring out the living arrangements, the last of the bills. There's a lot of paper work when a relationship ends (I should clarify, it's not "starting over" if you don't live with that person. When you amass a whole life with someone and that ends, it's starting over. When you just break up with someone, you're not starting over, you're onto the next).

Starting over means you usually have to re-learn how to be you, and how to be on your own. It sounds like it shouldn't be that hard, but it is. Think about it, you are all of a sudden thrust into solitary existence. You don't come home to anyone anymore. You sleep alone. You cook for one. It's just... you. And it used to be two.

And while all of that does suck at least initially, I gotta ask... how often have you had a shit day and thought, "I just want a do-over"? Starting over, the break up... it's your do-over. We don't get a lot of chances to start our lives over and make them better.

Most of life is just rolling with the punches, isn't it? It's adapting to the lousy things that life throws at you, and some of those lousy things just don't end positively and force you to make some changes.

A broken relationship doesn't have to lead to a broken life.

When you get to start over, you get to live your life for you. It doesn't often happen that you get a chance to really start fresh. After the initial shock and pain of the break up however, the world and your life is your oyster. So what, you're cooking for one? You can redefine your entire schedule when you're not living around someone else's.

When you start over, you start to realize how much you weren't doing because of someone else. Not necessarily because that person held you back, but maybe because you held yourself back for that person unbeknownst to them or you (guilty).

In my own experience, the trauma of starting over was short and swift, because all the positives show themselves early. I'm redecorating what was "our" apartment to make it mine. I've started taking classes. I'm cooking and baking the foods I want to eat. I rearranged the furniture. I threw out all the shit he left behind. It's not often you get to do a purge for the better.

In time, you realize starting over is actually kind of fun, a major relief. Life does get better. There's more time in life to do as little or as much as you want. It's good to be an individual again.

So don't fear starting over. It's really not that bad, and in the end, aren't we always looking for change? Starting over is one of the purest shots at change, it's your call if you make it change for the better.

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