When You Can’t Start Over

There are nights when I lay in bed, thinking about what I would do over in my life if I could. Maybe change majors, go to law school, not get into so much debt. Do you ever think about that? How your life could be so much better if you could just…start over. Clean slate. It’s a nice concept, right? Something that would make for a great movie or romance novel.

But the thing about being a grown up is that there is no do-over. Your mistakes stay with you, however shitty they were. Lord knows I’ve made my fair share of mistakes; some were done out of negligence and some were completely unavoidable on my part. Like, you know, wanting to kill myself…I wouldn’t wish that kind of depression on my worst enemy, but I still have to live with the consequences of that time in my life.

There are 12 steps in the Alcoholics Anonymous program, and while I am neither an alcoholic or…anonymous, I guess, there are two steps that really stick out to me. Steps eight and nine:

8. Make a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Those two have always resonated with me because I think they apply to all people, regardless of circumstance. Basically, if you want to be a good person, a worthy person, you need to be willing to accept that sometimes shit happens and sometimes it’s your fault. You can either take responsibility, or you can lay in bed at night wondering what you would do if you could live life over. Because reality check: you don’t get to live life over. All you can do now is move forward.

It wasn’t long ago that I was completely willing and ready to give up my entire career as a wedding planner. My reasons varied (I have a kid now, don’t want to be gone on the weekends…don’t want to deal with completely insane brides and grooms on the most stressful day of their lives, would like to be treated like an actual human when I work, etc.), but I am going to be 1000% honest with you right now: I made mistakes and hurt people. And instead of owning up to those mistakes and making amends with people, I was willing to throw away an entire portion of my life so that I could avoid discomfort.

I don’t know that I will ever jump back into wedding planning the way that I once did – the reasons I listed above are still very much at the front of my mind. But I also don’t know that I can’t not at least try to find that passion that I once had. See, I know I’m good at what I do. I have an eye for design, and right now, I just need more love in my life. So consider this my announcement. Things are happening. I don’t know what they are quite yet, but I’m tired. I’m tired of pretending like I don’t miss it. I’m tired of feeling like I’m not worth it. I am worth it – and I’m in a different phase of my life. A stronger phase. A badass phase. Because I’m done giving fucks about what people think of me, and I’m ready to give fucks about what I can do NOW. I’m ready to kick ass and create some fucking amazing things. You’ve been warned. 

Photo by the Gathering Season (formerly Leo Evidente Photographers)


    1. Hi, Joelle! I have been a long-time follower (but rare commenter). This post really moved me. I myself am trying to pause and reflect on my life – and gosh this being still and taking stock stuff is not for the faint of heart! I have felt feel shame and regret, and it has been painful. I am learning to place my faith in compassion, forgiveness, post-traumatic growth. I am really inspired by you and your story- so shine on, and please keep sharing!

      1. Hi Emma,

        Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful and important comment! One of the reasons why I share my story is because I know there has to be other people out there who understand what I’m going through – it’s part of the human experience to connect with other people and find that common motivating factor that drives us all. Being a grown up isn’t nearly all it’s cracked up to be, is it? But I feel like we are all going to be stronger in the long run by just facing things head on rather than ignoring our past and struggles. Good for you for placing your heart where it needs to be – I wish you all the best, and thank you for reading! xoxo

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