Tomorrow is a new day—a clean slate. A quaint idea, erasing culpability for yesterday. While tomorrow will be weighted with the poor decision of the past, it can be a new beginning. A new day where we can make better choices.
“To live without Hope is to Cease to live.”~Fyodor Dostoevsky
We have the Power to Change
We can change the trajectory of our life. We are challenged to accept the present with the marks and bruises from yesterday. Our experience today adds wisdom to face tomorrow; each day we have more exposure to life. We make choices tomorrow with a wider foundation than the day before. Each day’s actions expands and contract choices available later.
The present is precious. Yesterday still exists regardless of new commitments. Someone who persistently spends twenty-years planning for retirement has more opportunities at sixty than someone who newly begins planning for retirement at age fifty, squandering resources for several decades.
We Must Maintain Hope
Don’t give up. Don’t accept your current lot in life. We must hope there is more out there. We can no longer squander our opportunities. If we have no hope, we have nothing. Life isn’t fair, agreed; but we can escape some of the unfairness, bringing more to game than others. We can surmount the challenges.
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.”
Major life changes are frightening. We experience tremendous self-doubt as we move forward into unchartered territory. Gurpreet Singh, a therapist at the counselling charity Relate, wrote “self-doubt is a necessary component of any major life change” (Kale, 2020). In these moments, we can draw on faith in our ability to navigate difficulties, whatever they may be.
Changing a trajectory takes work. Life follows the momentum—power not easily redirected. We can’t erase a history of wrongs with a few rights. We will continue to experience residual effects from the past; but as we move forward, change begins. New choices shape the future. Then, new opportunities arise. Consequently, new habits form. And finally, new trajectories take hold and life is new.
There is a point in the courageous journey of change—the tipping point; the accumulation of new choices eventually out-weighs the past. Changes begin to gain traction and a new live emerges from the rubble. Many give up before the tipping point. The fight is too much, slipping back to old routines and familiar consequences.
See Tipping Point for more on this topic
New Life is Part of the Cycle
Having to rediscover ourselves is not shameful. Newness is comes and goes as we engage in our ever changing lives. We travel through stages of development. In one of my favorite books, one that influenced change in my life, David Richo wrote, “The seasons of nature reflect periods of light and dark in our own lives. To expect permanent springtime is not an adult—or natural—way of living in time.” Richo continues, “the year begins with spring, in which new life appears both in plants and animals. In summer this life is in full bloom as young animals are born or are growing and fruits ripening. In the fall abundant growth is ready for harvesting.” And then we experience the cold winds of change. “In winter all goes into restful and nonproducing state as many plants and animals hibernate.” and finally, “in the spring all comes back to life as the cycle recommences. Pain and ending characterize each phase as do joy and renewal” (2006).
Perhaps, we all need to continually rewrite our stories.
Courage! Patience! Persistence! You can make it, and it’s worth it.
*Article written in loving admiration for my son’s courageous fight against heroin addiction and for all those engage in similar battles.
Kale, Sirin (2020). ‘Everyone thought I was mad’: how to make a life-changing decision – and stick to it. The Guardian. Published 1-2-2020. Accessed 5-17-2023.
Richo, David (2006). The Five Things We Cannot Change: And the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them. Shambhala; Reprint edition