When was the last time you pressed the “reset” button? I mean a complete and total reset, leaving behind what’s familiar and being presented with a blank slate. This topic has come up recently with friends both old and new, so through discussion I’ve learned about their experiences navigating what it means to start over. Having uprooted myself seven times and counting, I’ve reflected on my own journey and have thought about the patterns that have emerged along the way, so I want to share a few with you:
You don’t take comfort for granted
When your life suddenly becomes a blank canvas, the realization that your safety net, that built in support network of long-standing friends and family, isn’t as accessible (at least in the physical sense) anymore. While the uncertainty and novelty of starting over can be an adrenaline rush, there’s a tendency to sometimes crave the comfort of being known, seen and understood. Despite (literally) oceans between us at times, I’ve found that my relationships with long-standing friends and family have often strengthened as I value the rarity of such bonds and will make it a priority to talk (not type), have a real voice-to-voice connection more frequently and tell them how much I value them.
You become more intentional
When you’re forced to start anew, you go through the exercise of getting to know yourself all over again. Losing the sense of familiarity with people and places means going through trial-and-error exercises to figure out both where and with whom you fit in. While the exercises can vacillate between exciting and exhausting, you will emerge from those experiences with a better sense of self. By routinely re-evaluating your preferences, interests and values, you learn to honor them and become more intentional about how you spend your time, focusing on the people, places and things that give you energy and lift you up.
You become more tolerant
Moving from country-to-country or even state-to-state within the U.S., you’re exposed to social, cultural and political norms that may be at odds with your own. By gaining exposure to ideologies that are different than yours, you’re often confronted with uncomfortable truths about the way people think and behave, and may also challenge your own biases, either conscious or sub-conscious. By accepting that no one else will ever fully share your unique view of the world, you become more empathetic and tolerant towards people that have different backgrounds and realities than your own.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!