Everyone wants a new beginning. Whether its running away from something or toward something. Some want it for a little while and call it traveling. Some call it going into a new direction in life. Some call it trying to advance. Social media calls it #goals. Whatever you or that person or another person calls it isn’t the point.

After my abusive relationship and a lifetime of feeling unworthy that led to depression so deep that I dreamed of suicide for a full decade. Only my fear of death and my mustard seed of faith that God had better for me kept me alive. I ran in so many directions trying to force a new start that I was sea sick the days I even got out of bed. I ran in circles, but I never could reach anything but a dream made of smoke.  

When I was 27 and at at my lowest point dealing with PTSD and extreme depression, the kind that only 3% of the population will ever experience, I got to spend a summer in Europe. I’d wanted this since before I hit puberty, but I wasn’t happy. I spent about two months crying all over Europe. Surrounded by people I was lonely. I look at pictures from those two months and see a wasted experience. I got my wish but on a broken foundation.

I spent most of my life thinking that happiness would come if A or B or C would happen, and there were a lot of ifs. Then I woke up and realized that happiness starts in small steps that aren’t often noticeable. I see now that new beginnings often don’t have epic starts. They are merely a decision to move toward that hope, wish, goal, vision, or dream.

What new beginning do you want? Are you recovering from a divorce or other tragic event? Is this your first year of college or your first year post university? Did you just experience a break-up or did you recently lose your job? Are you a widower or is married life not what you expected? What twist did life throw at you? What piece do you think you’re missing for that elusive happiness to be a stable presence in your life?

Social media tries to feed us the formula for happiness when the foundation for happiness has to come from within. Most people can’t afford that lavish quality of life hyped up on social media. And that becomes a source of disappointment to those who can’t. The saddest part is that those who hype the lifestyle often aren’t any better mentally or emotionally than their followers

What a difference effort makes because I’m now living a version of my life I couldn’t even imagine back in 2011 when I was in Europe. I know what happiness is. I feel whole. I am strong. I cherish my small steps. I still want to do more big trips and return to Paris, London, and Greece, but now I focus on being alive. Now I see that my small steps are more important than those big endings with the # worthy photo ops.

Every day is a new journey. Every day is my new beginning in something.   


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