A Woman’s View: Starting over

Sometimes it may seem that some of the hardest things in life involve starting over.  Letting go of the past or present and moving on to a new and different beginning can seem overwhelming and almost not worth the effort.

Whether it involves a job, location or relationship, starting over is a difficult task that few would welcome.  Several people remain in the same career for fear of failing in the unknown endeavors they wish were options to pursue.  Especially with today’s economic situation, the struggle to achieve self-set aspirations can seem impossible, but it is a travesty to sell your dreams and goals to your fears and simple daily tasks. 

The same may be said of relationships, in that the comfort of knowing someone gives way to actual emotion at times.  When a relationship is ripped from your hands and you are forced to start over, it can seem almost impossible at first, but somehow we persevere though the hardship and the changes.

“I was married for five years, and when my husband left me for another woman, I thought my world was over.  It was so scary to have to begin a whole life all over again on my own, but I did,” Mary from Fox Chase said. “Now I feel like I can do anything after living through that. Somehow being alone isn’t so scary after you already are.”

Change is never easy, especially for those who do not accept it.  There may be regrets, joys and new experiences, but whatever the outcome, embrace the change if there is a chance it will improve your life.  With the volatile job market these days, people are staying in positions that they loath rather than risk the change or become unemployed.

“I hate my job and wish I had the courage to change careers, but I am so scarred I will hate the new job worse that I have stayed here for 12 years.  Now why should I bother to leave?”  Said Neisha of Frankford.

True, that in this economy, you should be happy that you have a job at all, but should people put those crucial aspects aside and look to achieve goals on a personal level rather than that of social status?

The No. 1 reason that 20 women of the Northeast were afraid to start over at a new job was fear of failure.  The second reason was fear of hating the new position.  I was amazed how many women responded to the question with, “Isn’t it better to hate something you know then hate something you don’t?”

“I hate my job – well who doesn’t?  I left my old job and took the jump and now I hate this new job so much, Rhonda from Montgomery County said. “I can’t begin to say how much I hate it actually.  I am so sorry that I left. I never should have given up [my old job], even though I didn’t enjoy working with those people. My advice is be sure you know what you’re doing before you leave.”

Though there’s no guarantee things will turn out as planned, not every leap of faith taken has a negative outcome.  Surprisingly, 14 out of the 20 ladies interviewed said they were glad they made the change from one job to the next.

“I was so scared at first but I finally did it and made the change in careers.  At first I was so sorry, but after a month I was very happy and still am happy with my choice, said Belinda, as she shopped at Roosevelt Mall. “I was there for 13 years, and it was one of the hardest things I had to do, but I have adjusted nicely.”

Starting a new life can be 10 times harder than beginning a new job.  I spoke with 10 women of the Northeast, and all 10 said the main reason they were staying in their dead-end relationships was the fear of being alone.  The old adage of “it’s better to be alone than unhappy” is almost never taken into consideration.

I spoke with a woman (who requested to be anonymous) about her current situation.  She is living with a man who openly doesn’t love her, and she despises him as well.  Her boyfriend is rude and cruel, but yet, she said she was terrified of being alone more than having to live with a man she hated.  I was surprised how many women felt the same way about their relationships.

“The spark has died long ago but I think we both enjoy the fact of having someone even if it isn’t the right one,”  said Robyn of her relationship.

Starting over with anything is going to bring complications, but ask yourself this question when you are thinking of leaving your current position: Will I look back and say I wish I hadn’t (or had) done that? You can “what if” yourself to death, but maybe at least you took the chance.

Whatever decision you choose, make sure you factor in your feelings, your wants, your dreams and your goals.  These are the things that time can never give back once they are gone.

A Woman’s View is a column about women’s issues written by Donna Ward. The column appears every other Thursday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEastPhilly columns here.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.