The Weirds and Wonderfuls of Beginning Again
New beginnings can be so hard and so full of both weird and wonderful things, all mixed up together. Just like with endings and goodbyes, we often have unrealistic expectations and place far too much pressure on our hellos and new beginnings, and then feel disappointed when they don’t go perfectly and feel wobbly and weird instead. So I love this perspective on new beginnings from @worry__lines, who always creates such lovely tender expressions of what it means to be human and fumbling our way through life with big dreams and the best of intentions…
Know that new beginnings will have weird bits. Let them be. Plan for them, even. Maybe having a meltdown about the weirds showing up will be one of the unexpected weirds that happen in your new beginnings time – and that’s okay if it is. But also, a meltdown about the weirds is less likely to happen if you’re expecting the weirds to show up at some point and are ready with your planned response. You can’t plan what the weirds will be or when they’ll show up, but you can plan how you’d like to respond when they do.
Have a weird plan
What’s your weird plan? How would you like to respond when the weirds show up? I bet you’ll have a bunch of ideas, and here are some of the weird plan ideas that our little family uses…
1. Prioritise good sleep. Weirds are always much more scary and devastating when you’re sleep deprived!
2. Know what calms you, and schedule plenty of that in your beginning time. Is it a good hard run? A swim in the cold sea? Chilling with a funny movie? Ranting to a friend who’s a great listener? Making art? Jumping on a trampoline? Cuddles with your pup? Eating your favourite comfort foods? Know your own and each other’s calming things, and remind each other to do those things in the beginning time.
3. Remember to laugh, and remind each other to laugh. Especially at yourselves.
4. Take an explicit stand against perfectionism. Perfectionism never makes anything better. It only adds anxiety and judgement for everyone. Yuck. Let’s all not!
5. Agree to “we”. When the weirds show up, stick together against the weirds. There will be times when you’ll want to get all finger-pointy and blame someone for the weirds and distance yourself from them. We all make mistakes. Rather stand together, blame the weirds, and work together to come up with a plan to get around or leave behind the weirds.
6. Grow your curiosity. Watch and listen – to yourself, to others, and to the weirds. Try to just see what happened and be interested in how it happened and what lessons you can take from it. And always remember point 5!
7. Know that one of the weirds that’ll almost certainly show up in your new beginning time is grief. Grief about your old life and all that’s left behind, grief about all that’s weird and hard about new beginnings, grief about the weirds that feel like major or permanent fuck-ups (They’re probably not, but I hear ya!). Grief that’s really just old, unrelated grief that likes to show up whenever there’s any new grief. All the grief doesn’t mean that your new beginning is a bad idea or that it’s cursed. Feel the grief. That’s all it needs. And then do something else on this list.
8. Talk about the weirds. Shame will try to tell you that you should cover up all the weirds. Weirds happen to everyone – especially in beginning times, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of. And when we all talk about our weirds with each other, we all get to be cheered up by the reminder that everyone has weirds. And, yes, it’s shitty and mortifying, but we’re all still loved anyway. And that’s really liberating. Plus, it’s much more fun having a good laugh at your most mortifying weirds with others!
9. There will always be wonderfuls in your new beginnings time too, of course! Make a point of noticing, pausing, celebrating, and soaking up the wonderfuls. At dinner time, we each share what we’ve really enjoyed or been proud of that day, and it’s been so wonderful to replay our favourite moments and to watch our fears turn into courage and pride and delight as we hear each other’s stories.
10. And when you’re feeling despondent about the things that aren’t working out yet, as @worry__lines says, remember that there’s always more batter in the bowl!