As an avid reader and writer, I am often excited to turn the page on a new chapter when reading and writing. However, in life, starting a new chapter can sometimes be a little intimidating, especially if it’s unexpected. I’ve had to start many new chapters in my life. But I’ve learned to open my arms to possibilities. Keep reading to learn 3 ways to embrace a new chapter in life.
The book of life
If you look back on your life, do you sometimes feel that your ‘book of life’ fills many chapters and could be multiple volumes? Ha, me too. After clearing three cancers, getting a divorce, losing my dad to cancer, changing jobs and much more, I’ve turned the pages to new chapters many times. And while not all were expected, or even welcome, I try to look for the positive and remind myself that I’m in charge of the theme of my life. Will it be full of negativity and hesitation? Or looking forward?
Flipping the page into a new chapter can be scary. We get comfortable with the known, regardless if it’s good or bad. The future is uncertain. That can be scary and cause anxiety, and that can make us refuse to change ourselves or a situation. We often hold onto the past, people and emotions long after any benefit or lesson.
Moving forward, or letting go, doesn’t erase the past. It simply helps the past not rule our lives. Releasing someone’s hold on us or the negativity surrounding a situation releases emotions and expectations, allowing us to have space to welcome a different scenario. [Read my Learning to let go blog for tips.]
At this point in your life, I’m guessing you’ve figured out that life doesn’t always go exactly as we picture or plan. Most days, that’s probably not a bad thing, ha. We’ve all been in that job, relationship, situation that needs to end but somehow we stay in the cycle. It’s easy to get comfortable. What if we start a new chapter and it doesn’t work?
Other times, these unexpected life circumstances feel like a punch to the gut, making you wish and pray that life would stand still so things don’t change. I’ve been in many of those circumstances, frozen in place while the world still moves forward. So eventually I take a deep breath, picture the positive outcomes that I’m seeking, pick up my pen and paper, and start writing that new chapter.
A photo for a new chapter
A few weeks ago I finally got new professional head shots. “Ok….what’s the big deal?” you may be asking. Two years ago I cleared my third cancer and did cold cap therapy to help save most of my hair from chemo [read about my cold capping experience]. My hair turned curly, the texture thinned and I honestly didn’t feel myself despite being thrilled that I still had hair (I was bald for 15 months during bone cancer treatment). Over the past two years, my hair has thankfully thickened, filled in and I’ve learned to embrace the curls (in fact, I love the ease of curls!).
Over the past year, I kept looking at my ‘old’ head shots. I love the pictures taken by my talented friend. However, I have long straight hair in those pictures and it feels like a lifetime ago that it was taken, although it’s only one year before my breast cancer diagnosis. And even though so much of me is still me after that diagnosis, so much of me has changed too. And I want to embrace all of it and look for all the possibilities and positive outcomes I can!
I finally said screw it and scheduled some new pictures. You can see one in this post and more on my About Me and Work With Me pages. What do you think of my new pictures?
It may sound silly to write that new pictures helped me turn the page, embrace and get ready for a new chapter of life. But…shrug. Sometimes it’s that simple. While I share only 3 ways to embrace a new chapter of life here, there are so many other ways that may work for you. These are my go to reminders when I’m feeling stuck, sad, overwhelmed and more. They help change my perspective and look with optimism at the blank page before me.
3 ways to embrace a new chapter of life
Ask yourself what else is possible?
It’s easy to get comfortable with our emotions and behavior. So much that we don’t realize the impact on our daily lives. You don’t recognize you’re stuck in a negative loop because it simply seems like you’re responding like anyone would. But what if you started looking beyond the negative and problems, choosing to focus instead on what else is possible from a situation? Start looking for opportunities over problems. It may seem difficult at first, but the more you look for possibilities and positive outcomes, no matter how small, the more they appear. This doesn’t minimize the seriousness or emotional impact of what you’re facing. Cancer, job loss, heartbreak, and more still suck. I simply find it easier to face and work through tough things when I can see beyond the challenges.
It’s empowering to focus on what you can control (basically you and your reactions), empowering to see things begin to develop from your ideas, exciting to experience new adventures and fun, calming to focus the good in your life.
Focus on small steps and goals.
We too often think we have to know all the answers or do everything RIGHT NOW! And then it gets overwhelming when we don’t. I am constantly setting goals or brainstorming ideas for my life. And sometimes I overwhelm myself when I think of the amount of work, time and energy something will take me. But then I step back, take some deep breaths and focus instead on breaking things into small goals. I often share that when I am on a long bike ride I don’t focus on the total mileage, but rather 5-mile increments. My cycling tracker even beeps at the five-mile mark, reminding me that I have accomplished something great!
Picture great outcomes!
The reality is that we never really know what life will bring to us. We can plan and plan, but sometimes things just go different than the plan. But that doesn’t mean we still can’t imagine greatness, happiness, love and so much more for our lives. Instead of focusing on everything that may (or did) go wrong, picture all that can go right! In fact, close your eyes and visualize all the goodness that you hope to come from a new chapter, projects, relationship, whatever. And keep those positive stories in mind as you start this new chapter. Changing your perspective can help change your mindset, improve your emotions and attract positive outcomes!
It’s your blank page to write on.
While each chapter adds to our personal narrative, we choose what defines us. Starting a new chapter in life opens the door for a new story. And YOU are the author of your life.