As I prepare to embark on a life-altering journey overseas I can’t help but glance over my shoulder at the past. I feel as if I am peering back into a swirl of emotions and watching them fade into the distance. Embracing this feeling is akin to shedding an exoskeleton. A carcass of dead skin and bones that has been holding me down but there is still a sadness in saying goodbye to the past. The past is an anchor that holds us down but also acts as a safety net. Old bad habits and strong relationships are all part of the past simultaneously. We tend to carry our pasts with us; shadows clinging to our bodies and never letting go. Why? Good question. This safety net as I mentioned is when the past becomes a crutch, holding us back in several ways. We often use phrases like “I put myself out there once and look what happened,” or “I tried this once before and it became a bloody mess,” and even putting people or events on a pedestal so nothing in the future could possibly compare.
This journey away from home is a good way for me to cut the strings of my past safety net. Creature comforts of home and school will be gone, along with gloomy memories and awkward situations. Starting fresh abroad is certainly good for the soul but not everyone has the opportunity to put an ocean between themselves and the past.
However, new school years are still new opportunities to shed this dead weight. Feel lightness again that you felt before. Even if you are constantly running smack into the past, as a text on your phone, passing in the street, or smeared on career fair posters you can still let it go. Yes, it’s a little harder to rise above when you have reminders encircling you but it’s just a greater opportunity to be a stronger person.
I always say it’s good to be nervous about something because it means the thing is really important to you. There is a difference between nervous to succeed and show your best self and nervous to fail and break down. Missteps and collapses are bound to happen but there is no way to see them coming, no way to obsessively plan and build exit strategies for everything that could possibly go wrong. Instead, take the bundle of nerves and let is serve as kindling for recommitment to your passions, your drive, and your oomph to get this year going.
I’m going to urge myself to stop thinking about what I can learn from the past and just get going already. What’s done is done, cliché as it is, it’s certainly the truth. Lets kick start the new year with some new goals; the possibilities are endless.