Inertia - Nº137
So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don't sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we've satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.
— Lee Iacocca
I think a lot about how the world has moulded me so far. How it’s taken me in, opened my mind, fed me incredibly tough challenges—but supported me and my appetite to sometimes start over.
Every day is an opportunity to be something more, to work on a part of yourself that you want to change—though that’s not always easy to remember. You change so much over the decades, but you will still carry the same old traits that make you. It’s the same for us all, but what differs is how well we know what we carry.
I think a lot about where I live. Residing above the southern English countryside, I love to spend weekends cycling south and getting lost in the sea of ash trees and ancient woodland, through the crisp cold or mild mornings. I’ve been doing this since I was 14. And it’s done wonders for my mental health as I can leave my thoughts and problems absorbed by the countryside's tender lavender fields or soft rolling hills.
And in this mini world, past the countryside and city and neighbourhood and my home, past the people around me and their influence, what’s left? I like to question my sense of self in this way. What do I change and when? What stays consistent when I’m alone versus when I’m with others?
I like the concept of starting again. You have unlimited uses—you can change every five minutes if that sails your ship—but it's not saying you erase everything and act like the past never existed. It’s the contrary: the past wholly matters and is the leading force in what qualities you keep and what you discard. What you do and don’t change about yourself.
Strip everything away. How would you describe what’s left? What’s at your core? What makes you proud about yourself? Do you carry the heaviness of other people’s wishes and likeness, or do you focus on the weightlessness of what delights you?
It’s important for everyone to feel independent of their environment. Growing up, one of my biggest struggles was constantly trying to fill the shape of other people’s containers. Wrangling my own taste out of their experiences. Shaping myself and making choices based on their taste. I appreciate how much this has created me, but I write so much now because when I started, I immediately felt that every new day of writing was pulling me closer to my most authentic expression of myself.
Perhaps we’re all continually starting over anyway. It can be an invisible effort through the midst and mist of feeling like we’re messing everything up. We blame ourselves too harshly most of the time. Even though we all lose the thread, change our minds, and knock everything over, we take it all personally.
Next time you’re sitting down, either running your hand through the dry or dewy grass of a local field or just breathing deeply for a moment, know that you should never blame yourself for wanting to start over. Every day, the world asks that you endure endless mistakes and unwavering inadequacies. But real life is dominated by mess. And as you go through life, learning on the fly and starting fresh when you see fit, remember to love every part of this journey for what it is.