I’ve been thinking about “starts” a lot lately.

For the first 25 or so years of our life, we have to start things. Start school, start university/college, start a part-time job, start a “grown up” job. We’re more or less forced to start these things. We don’t even really see it as a big deal, it’s just growing up. They’re natural starts.

Photo credit: Andrew Hecker, Creative Commons

Photo credit: Andrew Hecker, Creative Commons

But what happens after you’ve grown up? When we’re not necessarily forced to start anything? When starts are no longer natural, they need to be intentional starts? When there isn’t a guaranteed or known outcome on the other side? How do you even begin to start?

It’s a tough transition to go from natural starts to intentional starts. There’s a lot more discomfort, risk, doubt and vulnerability with intentional starts.

If I go back to school, that means I won’t have as much disposable income or time. It will be much harder to pay bills. I might even fail.

If I start a new job, it might be hard. My coworkers might not like me. I might not like the job.

If I start a relationship, I could get really hurt. I would also have to consider someone else’s time, feelings and priorities, instead of just my own.

And while those discomforts, risks, doubts and vulnerabilities are (or at least feel) very real, so are the rewards. The satisfaction, sense of accomplishment, love and growth; these things are immeasurably more powerful.

So what if our natural starts prepare us for intentional starts? What if we can look back on our natural starts and realize the emotions and rewards that came along with them? That yes, they were crazy scary and hard, but we were better off for them.

It’s easy to stop starting things after we don’t have to anymore. But it’s also boring.

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4 Responses to Starts

  1. davecenker says:

    This is a very astute observation, it immediately caught my attention. We are nudged along by supporters (as well as society) during those natural starting periods in our life. I also believe the innocence of childhood and hope for the future are fully alive and well. And then somewhere along the path, we are reminded about the “perceived” realities of life. And we allow the sense of adventure to be sucked out of our being. We follow the path everyone else has taken, willing to accept that others know what is best for us.

    But, you are so spot on. If we take the time to look into the past, at those moments where we courageously leapt into the unknown, we realize that there is growth in those experiences. Growth that allows us to make the next start with a little more confidence. It’s a liberating feeling to begin something on your own accord and watch the results unfold.

    You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. ~C.S. Lewis

  2. Lauren MacGillivray says:

    So true! I remember so clearly the sense of adventure I had when I graduated from university. I felt I could go anywhere and do anything. I just turned 36 this year and admit it feels a lot scarier to take big leaps. Funny and sad how that happens. Your post is a good reminder to keep stretching boundaries.

    • lindsturner says:

      Thanks Lauren. It’s so true. It’s hard to find a balance between being jaded and being realistic about “starts”. But I guess you don’t know until you start 😉

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