As a matter of course, I believe that it’s never too late to start your life over again. New beginnings and happy endings have always allowed me to appreciate the good and bad moments wedged in the middle. In fact, I couldn’t imagine a life that’s not in constant flux. Who would I have become if I weren’t first a budding actress, a feminist, and a far-left liberal who believed I was once both a Christian and an agnostic?
While my mother never questioned her spirituality, she was always revamping nearly everything else. She taught my sisters and me that it wasn’t good enough to just examine your life. We were also responsible for its evolution, or lack thereof. In college, I cycled through dozens of identities and personalities in search of one that fit. And just when I thought I’d settled on an identity, something or someone convinced me that there was no rush. I could forever add and subtract characteristics, sometimes to ridiculous effect, if I wanted to. How I planned to live in this world wasn’t something I had to ever stop considering.
Recently my 60-year-old mother flew to Atlanta to start her life over again. Even though there were moments of wistful regret, she looked forward to making herself over. The probability of possibility gave her life new meaning. Some questioned her decision to change careers in a time of economic tumult. While everyone else seemed to be tying up loose ends, my mother was undoing most of what she’d done.
Was it unfair to leave so much behind? Did it mean she was ungrateful? No. Starting over wasn’t a rejection of the past but a willingness to accept new adventures whenever and however they presented themselves. Imagining something different, far away and unconventional was essential to living a full life.
Several years ago after three long illnesses, and two liver transplants, I too started over. For over a decade, I lingered just this side of death. At a time when I should have been mapping out my future, I was facing my own mortality. What kept me going however was the idea that it would never be too late to pursue my goals, to start my life over.
I believe I can always wipe the slate clean. My life doesn’t have to be in perfect order today, tomorrow, or next month. I can, and will, continue to take new directions. This I believe.
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