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Lessons in Starting Over

The Doe Team

by The Doe Team

| July 12, 2022

How to start over in life: three important lessons from our writers.

There’s no official guide for starting over in life, and through trial and error, we hope to eventually figure it out, despite how difficult it can be.

Using our New Beginnings curation as reference, we’re sharing five different narratives that show crucial lessons the writers learned about starting over.

Starting Over Lesson 1: Find Your Inspiration

Something always moves you to make the decision to start over, and these writers share how listening to this inspiration changed everything.

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Coming Out to My Parents Wasn’t Easy, but It Was Worth It 

Neil Patrick Harris promoted a campaign called “It Gets Better” to help LGBTQ+ people find the courage to keep moving forward through their struggles. In “Coming Out to My Parents Wasn’t Easy, but It Was Worth It,” NotTheRealNPH lived a relatively normal life before that campaign, but it was a life with a secret.

Neil Patrick Harris gave our writer a message of hope that allowed him to finally come out. He knew everything would change, but he leaned into this bit of inspiration to give him the courage he needed. He reminds us that “it will always get better, this isn’t the end,” and years later, he sticks to it.

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Social Media Made Me Depressed—Until the Pandemic Turned It Into a Source of Inspiration

Many of us have struggled with the rabbit hole of comparison that social media can open up. In “Social Media Made Me Depressed—Until the Pandemic Turned It Into a Source of Inspiration,” Lavender felt the pressure of doing more during the pandemic as she scrolled through the fun, productive and interesting activities on her Instagram feed.

After feeling the weight of comparison for long enough, she decided it was time for a perspective change and began using social media a little differently:

“Every time I open up my Instagram, it’s with a purpose. I scroll as if I’m looking for something—a tutorial, a motivational video or even a small piece of poetry. After I’ve come across two or three of these, I stop using my phone because now I’ve got just enough to keep me going for another few hours.”

Starting Over Lesson 2: Get to Know Yourself

These writers had to come to terms with who they are so they could know where they were headed.

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How I Fell in Love During My Ho Phase

Countrycitygirl knew from the start that the dating game was a wild one, and she wanted to play. In “How I Fell in Love During My Ho Phase,” this writer enjoyed her freedom to date whomever she pleased. After years of stealthy maneuvering in the dating world, she began to take note of something particular: all the things she didn’t want in a man.

This heightened self-awareness of who she was and what she enjoyed led her straight into a man she enjoyed in every single way. This understanding made it easy to decide the game was over, and “even now, years later, nothing else compares.”

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I Ingested Far-Right Propaganda; Here’s How I Learned to Spit It Out

During a swift downward spiral on the far-right side of YouTube, 875anonyme had little idea how far he’d gone. In “I Ingested Far-Right Propaganda; Here’s How I Learned to Spit It Out,” this contributor found himself hours deep into arguments with his worried family members and said, “By the time I recognized these patterns, my political views had been warped.”

He realized he was against types of people he’d never even met, and this led him to practice listening to other perspectives that challenged his own. It may have been difficult to acknowledge where he was at, but once he did, he could see what he needed to do. Taking a hard look at his beliefs, 875anonyme began to rely on honest self-awareness to lead himself out of an ignorant space.

Starting Over Lesson 3: Time Is Patience

Time and patience go hand-in-hand when it comes to starting over, and these writers can show you how true this is.

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Coming Out to My Parents Wasn’t Easy, but It Was Worth It 

Remember how inspired NotTheRealNPH was by the “It Gets Better” campaign? It was short lived after he tried multiple times to start over through what seemed like years of struggles with interpersonal relationships, but he never forgot it.

After years of growth and persistence, he says, “Originally I thought it got better in 2013 when I went to college. Then I thought it got better in 2016 when I fell in love. Now it’s even better in 2020.” Though it took years, his patience was rewarded with a life that seems to only get better with time.

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After 18 Years in Prison, I Rebuilt My Relationship With Home

Long Beach, California, isn’t the cushy beach town you might think, especially for at-risk youth. In “After 18 Years in Prison, I Rebuilt My Relationship With Home” HD Mondragon shares his experience growing up in a city where he turned to gang violence for a sense of community, leading him to being tried in court as an adult at only 17 years old.

He blamed the city, but with 18 years in prison, he had nothing but time. With years and patience, he learned about himself, giving him the ability to start anew. He says that “most importantly, I was finally empowered by being able to address my ‘why,’ and the transformation began.”

This transformation has brought him back to his hometown, where he is now “being a part of the solution.”

Closing Thoughts

We don’t start over because it’s easy. We do it because it is a necessity in life. These writers realized this and decided to make a change, one that improved their lives.

Sometimes, reading someone else’s perspective can be the very thing that gives you the drive to push forward and make a move toward something brave and worthwhile. Explore our narratives to learn more about the world and see where it takes you.

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