The courage to start again
There will come a time in all our lives when we will have to start again.
A time when we will have to stand in the middle of what feels like nowhere and realise that we cannot do this. We cannot keep doing what we are doing.
We cannot live like this.
This is not what we want. Where we want to be. Who we want to be.
There comes a time in our life when we have to sit up and start listening.
A time when we have to stop pretending, lest we forever short-circuit our joy. Who are we pretending for? Why are we so afraid to stop pretending?
There will come a time when we have to stop ignoring our aching heart.
It has probably been tugging, gnawing for a long time. But we have normalised our pain. We have stopped noticing.
We forgot that hearts aren’t meant to ache.
We are too afraid to let it guide us—afraid of what this might mean. We don’t know where it is going to lead us. But it has been calling out to us.
Do something different.
Do something else.
I don’t want this.
And now it calls louder. Taking a huge breath, the biggest it can, to shout in the hope that perhaps, finally, we might listen.
We may hear it well. Or we might only notice a muffled, flattened tone and a knowing that something just isn’t right. This depends on how good we have become at ignoring our heart. Most of us are pros.
But there comes a moment for everyone when we will realise that our life doesn’t feel like ours anymore. Because there is no unified human experience behind the “I” that we speak of. Because we have somehow allowed ourselves to drift farther and farther away from what feels like home. Disconnected from our heart, we don’t know who we are anymore.
And this is a very jagged pill to swallow. It cuts, but we have to understand that it wasn’t our heart that got us here. We have to makes friends with the uncomfortable fact that we feel lost—that we don’t know what the f*ck we are doing. Where we are going. What that “something different” is.
All we know it that we don’t want this. And this is enough to know.
Then we have to lean in to the fear of what comes next, knowing that we just have to move. We can’t gather momentum without first taking a single step.
We have to learn to dance as the earth quakes beneath our feet. But let’s not fool ourselves—we already own a pair of dancing shoes. We were born with them. And we have a choice. In this moment. And in this one.
If we want easy though, our choice is more limited. If we want to avoid the pain of vulnerability and the fear of insecurity, then this is our right. But know that by doing this, we sacrifice our happiness for acceptance of a life that isn’t really ours. Know that our heart will wither and sink deep into our chest. It will save its precious energy on simply existing. It will stop talking to us because it’s learned that we won’t listen. And it hurts to be ignored.
We will tread heavier on the earth, but we won’t have to feel the pain of waking up. The pain of saying “no” and of starting again. We will possess a different kind of pain—a pain that sleeps without dreaming, a pain that follows you around like a shadow.
But the brave ones answer when pain knocks at our door. We meet it. We let it tell us about ourselves. We let it change us.
We let ourselves be broken—all the best people are.
So stand with the bravest of all. Listen to your heart, even if this means letting go of security, of comfort. Even if this means doing what others think is crazy, what others think is stupid. Even if it flies in the face of all rationality and sense.
Even if it means giving up your office job and living in a tent in your friend’s back garden so you can put your energy into doing what you long to do. Even if it means leaving your hometown and moving to a country where you have never been and where you don’t know anyone. Even if it means turning down that amazing job with the huge salary and secure career prospects to travel around the world. Even if it means leaving your career in law to become a poet. Even if it means leaving your beautiful home and a husband who adores you, because you know you're meant for something else.
Whatever it means.
Let your heart be your lighthouse, even if the sea looks sure to swallow you and you never learned to swim.
You don’t have to have the answers. You just have to listen and trust—fiercely trust.
Your heart will never let you fall. It is in forgetting it that we break.
So remember your heart, dear ones.
And have the courage to start again.