turn over a new leaf <figure of speech>:
To begin again, fresh; to reform and begin again (on turning to a fresh page <The leaf is a page—a fresh, clean page>)
I thought about the graduation day at the college near me. Seeing all the caps and gowns and proud parents and friends hugging each other (some for the last time) made me think about ‘turning over a new leaf’ and the opportunities life gives you to … well … turn the page and leave the other pages behind.
Look. Life gives you a number of opportunities to start fresh.
Oh. Starting fresh is different than making changes. It may be semantics but I say that because we often talk about making changes in our life and maybe just begin doing things differently.
And I will admit … making changes … that is tough.
It is like trying to get your personal train to jump off the tracks and get on another set of tracks.
Is it possible? Sure it is. Lots of people do it. I am just saying it is tough.
But. Sometimes you don’t have to ‘jump the tracks’ because life turns a page … it, well, gives you an opportunity to turn over a new leaf. To start behaving in a different way. To be a different type of person. To … well … start anew with a clean page.
College graduation is one.
I also tell graduating high school students that they have the opportunity to be whoever they want to be the moment they leave high school … in college or in their first real job.
It is a truth that who you were in high school does not have to be who you are … from that day on.
The cool people are no longer cool. The geeks are no longer geeks. The popular are no longer popular. The losers are no longer losers.
I tell them “you can be whatever type of person you want to be as soon as you step into a new environment.” And I purposefully say “new environment” because it is a life lesson … not just a high school lesson. Something they can keep with them for the rest of their life.
And while turning over a new leaf typically suggests an improvement in behavior … I suggest it is simply an opportunity to begin writing a new chapter in your life. Yup. Sometimes a new leaf has nothing to do with improvement <in the typical sense> … sometimes it just has to do with doing something you have wanted to do but were scared to do (for any variety of good, or bad, reasons).
Now. Not everyone wants to do this. Nor should they. I am simply pointing out that it represents an opportunity. An opportunity to move forward in maybe a small way … or even a big way. Up to you. Because I do believe it is very very <very> rare for someone’s life to stay on track … on course … all the time. In fact I believe almost everyone’s life goes off course at some point.
“There comes a time when every life goes off course. In this desperate moment you must choose your direction. Will you fight to stay on the path while others tell you who you are? Or will you label yourself? Will you be honored by your choice? Or will you embrace your new path? Each morning you choose to move forward or to simply give up.” – Lucas Scott
Life has a nasty habit of turning on a side road and quickly gaining momentum without giving you the steering wheel. If you believe that every life does go off course at some point you gotta figure out how to get it back on course.
How? Yes, I do believe every morning you choose to move forward or give up.
And, no, I don’t believe that each day is a new page in your life … that pop psychology banal drivel that each night you go to sleep that life is turning a new page.
It’s not that simple. And I think ‘turning the page’ is just not that easy. Except when life steps in … you move, you graduate, you get a new job … each represents a new leaf to turn over.
Life does give you opportunities for new beginnings.
And at those times … those “new beginnings” … it becomes a time to write whatever you want. To change things. To change ‘your story’ as it may be.
And I think we need to take advantage of those opportunities as often as we can. Maybe think of it this way … what makes a book interesting is reading how the hero makes a transition, has an epiphany, or reinvents themselves in some way <reinventing in terms of ‘bettering’>.
Simplistically some event in life provides the opportunity to re-create yourself.
These events are important, really important, because while popular wisdom has it that human life is short and most of us have a ‘this is the person I want to be’ idea before we go to the ‘happy place in the great beyond’ most of us don’t really wrap our heads around ‘life is short’ nor do most of us have the wisdom to know ‘this is the person who I want to be.’ We figure it out as we go along. Hey. This isn’t about your bucket list or some type of adventure this is just about a sense of self.
Yeah, it is difficult because we all have a shitgob of stuff going on in life and it becomes easy to become stagnant … hmmmmmmmmmmmmm … but then life disturbs the stagnation in some way.
This disturbance will generate new possibilities and cause a ripple effect that will change the ground and build new momentum in a different direction. And in that moment, that very moment, you have an opportunity to grab the proverbial bull by the horns and do something that maybe gets your life back on course … or get you a little closer toward the ‘person you want to be.’
All those graduates, some securely happy with a well-defined path and some insecurely content with graduating because of the step into the unknown, reminded me they are all turning a new leaf.
“There is only one failure in life possible, and that is not to be true to the best one knows.” – George Eliot
I think everyone begins with the thought of being true to the best one can be. Its just that life confuses you … with job responsibilities and family responsibilities and any ‘ility’ you can think of. So you can lose your way.
He also said …
It is never too late to be who you might have been.”
When life provides an opportunity to turn over a new leaf make sure you remember it is never too late to begin anew. Because in that moment, in that opportunity, you have the opportunity to take a step toward making “who you might have been” into “who you are trying to be.”