Begin Again

Much like a computer, occasionally, life will require a reset. The downside of course being that life isn’t quite as obvious as the computer, flashing a big, bold, pop up saying, “Restart to continue”. Unfortunately, things tend to get really messy before it’s that obvious. As much as we’d all like to think we will only ever take steps forward, sometimes we find that while we were too busy to notice, we’ve actually taken several giant leaps backward.

I first recognized it at the end of last year. It took a massive fight with my partner to realize that I had slipped back into the depths of darkness and needed to make some serious changes. Insert my “new year new me” attitude and my post titled “My 22 for 2022”. I mentioned in that post that I know it’s been a weird few years for all of us. Between the pandemic, crippling inflation, and loss in potentially all areas of life (loved ones, jobs, homes, social lives, etc.) it’s hard for anyone to make mental health a priority, let alone someone who has struggled with it. But despite multiple attempts to rediscover the free-spirited me I had once loved, I just couldn’t manage to keep myself on track towards finding her again.

That’s not to say that my life isn’t equally as amazing as it was before. In fact, it is probably more so. The problem is that I stopped seeing it that way. I’ve struggled with my mental health in the past, but for quite some time I considered myself mentally strong. Post-divorce and the whole “finding myself” phase, I had a renewed sense of purpose and a positive outlook on life. I was doing things I never dreamed of doing, excelling in areas I never thought I could, finding the beauty in each and every moment… trusting the journey. My life was looking exactly how I had worked so hard for it to look. How on earth after years of preaching self-love and positivity did I let this happen again? What the hell is wrong with me? I wish I knew when it happened, but truthfully, defining that moment isn’t what’s important. What’s important is taking the steps to reset.

Halfway into this year, I acknowledged that the “attempts” I had made so far were all failures. Failures because I was pushing myself to be better for others but lacking the drive to be better for myself. Although there were plenty of very real things I could not control, there were plenty of things that I could.  So, after even more arguments with my partner, a near falling out with someone whom I consider a best friend, a weight on the scale I haven’t seen since I had a baby, a health issue I haven’t dealt with in years reappearing, and lots and lots of internal conflict, I decided to fully and completely admit to myself that it was time. Time to find that path I wandered from by doing the real work, without any shortcuts.

I’ve been down this journey of finding myself before, and although this time looks a little different, reminding myself of that journey has been crucial in sparking that flame. I get glimpses into my past as they pop up in my memories on my Facebook. Sure, they are helpful reminders, but I decided that to really remember it, I was going to re-read my blog from the beginning. I created this blog to capture all my funny dating adventures. At the time, it was meant to be pure entertainment for my friends who were constantly asking for recaps. Little did I know that in the process of writing about those adventures, was I actually documenting my growth. I don’t know what an outsider sees when they read through the posts, but what I see is pretty profound. Every lesson, every growing moment, every step I took to get me to the point of truly loving myself and my life. Reading through it again helped me reignite the fire within me which is exactly what I needed. This attempt time it’s different, this time it’s real, this time I’m doing it for me.

The old Courtney shared lots of good advice (some of which I’ll share below), so I’ve been sifting through it all and using it on myself. I never would have thought when I was sharing my growth that I’d someday be talking to myself, but here we are. It’s only been a few weeks, and I’m obviously only human here, but I’ve already made quite a bit of progress. Today I not only went to the gym, but when I got home I grabbed the dog and took her for a long walk around the neighborhood, and then had a dance party with her in the middle of the foyer (glad no one was watching!) I laughed harder than I have in a while!

The real work is messy you guys. Real work means admitting to yourself all the things you are responsible for. It’s lots and lots of self-reflection. It’s painful and it’s embarrassing but necessary. I can almost guarantee that I’m not the only one, which is why I feel so compelled to share so that you too know you can always press reset. No matter what your journey is or how many times you’ve tried. Use this as your moment to begin again. Hopefully, old Courtney has some helpful advice for you too.

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