Look, I hate to burst your bubble but there is no such thing as a, “fresh start.” Can’t be done. Not even remotely possible. Once you are you, you have written all over that slate that once began ‘clean.’ Oh, you can try to erase what you’ve written. You can even write over it in darker ink but what’s done is done.
The ONLY thing you CAN do is begin a new chapter, but trust me, the previous ones do not delete. They are indelibly inscribed in the book of your life. Now here’s the thing: we all have the ability to change—not wholly—but in teeny, tiny ways that smooth or roughen our edges. We can add little pieces. With intense effort and dedication, we can sometimes make dramatic changes. But what we can never do is start fresh. There is just too much of us that has already been said. . .and done.
When we are young, our volumes are small and the page counts quickly readable. It is easy to see where we have been and thus, where we are headed. As we age, our tomes grow larger and the chapters behind us can be daunting. We have taken so many side roads that even a GPS would have trouble locating just where we have been. And where we have been sets the course for where we are going.
But it doesn’t matter where we have been or how long we have been here. What matters is where we are right now, this day, this moment, this second. What matters is how we are handling the present problems in our paths. If we are facing them the way we always have and getting poor results, something must change. The problems won’t. They are resolute. So our approach to them must. Otherwise, we are stuck and will not be able to even begin that next chapter.
When there is a knot in our yarn, force will not untie it. It will only pull it tighter. As a Girl Scout, I learned how to tie many different kinds of knots. My favorite was always the sheepshank. It was used to shorten a rope or take up slack. Tonight I read that it is “ineffective,” and “not to be used.” You see what happens with time? Things change and so must we.
Helen Hudson is a counselor and 20 year member of the ACA. She is also the author of "Kissing Tomatoes," and speaks around the country on the importance of caring for the elderly, particularly those with Alzheimer's, with compassion.