Starting Over

Is it really possible to start over in life?

In middle age at that.


What does starting over look like for me?

It means leaving the land that holds all my traumas, the bad dreams that just won’t fade away because many sights, sounds and tragedies bring the memories back.  It means that I can break from the past, even if it’s a symbolic break. That I can perhaps put some old anxieties to rest.

It means leaving the land that holds the graves of the people who loved me the most. It means leaving a land that reminds me every day that my inability to afford good health care, and that the lackluster attitude of those in charge, can land me in a grave next to those loved ones in a split second.

It means leaving behind the judgment for my failure to understand or follow cultural norms, the embarrassment of not being fluent in any of my mother tongues, and my doomed struggle to master the vocabulary of the language of the land.

It means having the chance to make a living where I don’t have to be so sharp and street smart. It means that I am not constantly suffering from not having a sixth sense about who is about to cheat me.

It means that I get to find a way to earn money in a land with mostly straight forward systems. What dues to pay to the government, what am I entitled to, and what public services my children and I can access.

It means that my children get a chance to go to school and stay in school no matter what happens to me. It means that their schooling is not determined by what I earn but by government standards.

It means leaving behind all those who get offended by the perception of my privilege, whose resentment puts me in a box, all those who are ready to take offense and attack me because they think I have it easy.

It means that I get access to mental health care to deal with all our various traumas, that we have a chance to see a way through this darkness that always seems ready to engulf us, just one misstep away. Just one trigger away.

It means that I leave behind a land where I am past it, where my age puts me out of consideration for opportunities where I could actually shine.

It means that I can use my creativity to earn a decent living, to access a large market with diverse tastes, to create a niche that could benefit from a larger number of deeper pockets.

It means a chance to start again, to dream again, to plant seeds that have a chance to grow.

It means a chance to find like-minded people, to form friendships based on real connection and shared interests rather than long history and convenience. Even though it means great distance from my current kindred spirits, it also means that our friendships will be tested and, I hope, found true.

It means that no one will shout at me when I miss one family function or another. I will have the perfect excuse to send my regrets. It is like escaping from a WhatsApp group guilt free.

It means that the cloud of shame in which I float, filled with unpaid debts, unfulfilled promises, and the pity reserved for non-starters, will finally lift.  It means hope that I can get back to sufficiency, prosperity, upward mobility and the generosity that comes so naturally to me.

Perhaps it also means a chance to rest, to be able to exhale once in a while? Because the options for relief exist, because what holds me back can be overcome, with the help of others. Help from those with experience in starting afresh and those with the expertise in pulling up others who wish to do so.

Perhaps it also means the chance to worship in truth, not with bored fellow travelers, but true seekers whose faith is counter culture but full of truth. Whose beliefs are a choice and not taken for granted.

Perhaps it means that I can finally be myself. That I can find a love based on who I am. Not this person that I pretend to be, in order to fit in and not intimidate or creep out anyone. Perhaps it means that I can fall in love with myself once again, perhaps finally be able to melt the mountain of dread that keeps threatening to erupt over me.

I think it means that even if it’s not going to be a walk in the park, that even if it is all wishful thinking, and nothing turns out the way I envision it, that I may even no longer have the energy to handle what it takes, the change will be worth it. It means that hope will return to my life.

But but… Can a change of place, a change of pace bring hope? Isn’t it found within? The result of a well nurtured seed of faith? Maybe so. Even then, let me try and find out for myself if some soil is better than others for growing such seeds.

Let’s go!

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