Anybody ever tried to redo their life?

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    Have you – or anybody else you’ve known – up and left to a new city, got a new job, and totally started over? Or anything of the sort?

    I’m in the process of making some major life changes, with a certain amount of calculated risk. I can’t explain it, but I woke up one morning with this sense of urgency like things have to change and they have to change now. After a few years of living in a new city and working at my first adult job, and after going through a lot of change and suffering devastating losses, I feel like I’ve overcome a lot and even though there are still things I’m trying to overcome, I’ve finally earned my right to leave. I’ve made as much peace as I can with the place where so many bad things have happened to me. I’ve officially outgrown my job and coworkers. I don’t have anywhere to go, really, and not many friends to run to.

    I want a new life, because this routine is killing me. The memories that this place holds are overbearing and unnecessary.

    Does anybody have any wise life advice from a know-nothing vagabond like me?



    Hi Nicole,
    Yes, I have! Although I don’t know what your exact painful situation you’re trying to leave was, I certainly can relate to that sense of urgency you mentioned. For me, I started making a note of the things, people, places, activities that bring me joy and feel positive; and also the things, people, places and activities that drain my energy levels. And from then on, it was a series of decisions – to do more and more and more of what brings me joy; and letting go of everything that drains my energy levels.

    By focusing on the joy, and letting go of everything else that didn’t work, I was able to create a life and a living. It took me several years, but I love every minute of it. For me, it was a calling of my soul, and I believe it’s our responsibility to honor and follow that calling. If you’re interested in the Nest in the Forest I’ve created for myself, feel free to go to the link on my profile when you click on my picture 🙂

    Much luck with your journey!!


    Yes. I feel exactly the same. I felt like this before but it’s much worse this time around. The first time was about 2 years ago. I ended up quitting my well-paid job, selling all of my belongings and leaving the country for a while to go on a backpacking trip (I walked across France & Spain). I came back a different person and was able to turn my life around. Unfortunately, I’ve done everything but move away from the city. I have so much bad history in the city where i live. I feel like i just exist here. Every time i go somewhere I run into someone i don’t want to see and it brings back a flood of memories it hurts to think about. My escape is my job where I can just ignore the thoughts that run in my head and stay busy. Otherwise i’m just stuck at home depressed over where my life is headed, which is nowhere. I’m reaching the point where I will just pack my stuff and leave all of this behind. I’m just in an anticipation of some big change in my life but i can’t seem to make the first step…


    @trianglesun It’s very comforting that you can relate because I feel like a crazy person most of the time! It’s truly awesome that you up and left to go backpacking – I find that so inspiring! I feel the SAME way about where I live though and it feels so validating to hear it from somebody else – like it seems way less crazy and totally reasonable. I’ve only spent about 2.5 years in my city, but so many bad things have happened over that span of time. I can’t help but hate PA as a whole because of it. Which is sad – but I honestly cringe any time I think or hear about PA or Philadelphia. Do you hate your city like I hate mine? And do you think it’s okay to leave a city that you hate and to just leave unresolved hate in a place like that? That’s something I struggle with… My escape is my job TOO!!!! But once I leave work, everything becomes a trigger and I find myself drowning in old trauma and constantly working through grief. I’m trying to make my big changes, although I am TERRIFIED for the outcome of my choices, even though I know it will be great and I will feel mighty.


    @Saiisha I started doing something similar. I’m trying to redo everything and rope as many positive things and people and places and activities into my life as I possibly can. I feel like the work I am doing to myself and my life is like gutting and remodeling a beautiful house with a lot of character but just needs a TON of love and work in order to live well in it. The painful things I’m trying to leave behind are essentially a series of events, which have led to trauma, loneliness and a bunch of memory triggers that I am constantly facing. I’m terrified of leaving and starting new all by myself, but I know I have to do it in order to progress. I will look at the nest in the forest. Thank you!


    @Saiisha I responded to you but I think I forgot to hit reply to your message


    Nicole and TriangleSun – I think you’re both brave to be able to stand up to the circumstances around you and turn them around. So many people live such “quiet lives of desperation” and don’t even try to see what’s wrong with the picture – only that the picture is wrong.

    You’re both feeling that relentless pull from within to do something, to take that first step, to change your lives around. There’s nothing more powerful than taking that step. Once you do that, the path itself will pull you forward. Don’t deny that voice within – keep listening to it – that’s the only sane voice you’ll hear 🙂


    @Nicole, I don’t necessarily hate my city but I feel like i have a dark cloud over me here. I’ve lived here for 15 years. My parents live here. Outside of my parents and 1 good friend I have nothing to show for my 15 years here. Everyone else fell out of my life or I out of their life for one reason or the other. I have done great in terms of career and education, but my personal life has been nothing short of a catastrophe. I wanted to relocate to the west coast last year but met someone here weeks before jumping on a plane and leaving. This will probably sound stupid, but I kind of took it as the “sign from above” lol. I stayed for her, hoping for a blossoming relationship, instead I got thrown to the curb and heartbroken. Nobody to blame but myself. I shouldn’t have stayed. I feel like i could have been somewhere else doing something else, but instead i’m stuck in the same rut and with even more uncertainty in life.

    The only thing keeping me here is my job. I wake up every day happy to go to work because it’s what I love doing and it gets me through the day. I actually told my boss, jokingly, that if he’d let me live at work I wouldn’t blink an eye because it’s better than going through the same crap thoughts i go through when i’m home. Sadly, there is probably some truth to that. I basically live for my job and random trips or hikes somewhere away from here. Otherwise, I’m just a floater. I feel like moving is the right direction and I really want to move to NYC, but you know they say grass is always greener on the other side. What i do know is that every other day I wake up with “Screw it. I’ll just move.” and just think about getting busy with the job search and traveling to look for an apartment already makes me feel excited.

    I think there is nothing wrong with leaving a place that hurts and starting over elsewhere. Like you, I’m also terrified of starting over somewhere else all by myself. I’m also not in the right mindset that i was 2 years ago when i “just did it” and took off. Things are a little different these days and what I’m thinking about now is why i haven’t done it then. So, you’d be even more terrified looking back at the situation 2 years from now, having not done anything, and wondering why you’re still wasting time. What I had learned from my trip is this – no matter where you are and no matter what you’re doing, you have no option but to be okay and you will be okay because it’s in your human nature 🙂 Like @Saiisha said, taking first step is the start of the adventure.


    Our stories are creepily similar. I have the same exact situation in my hometown too. Only 1 or 2 friends left, parents have been there for almost 20 years now. But I like my hometown very much. My dark cloud is in Philly.

    I too have a great education and I love my career but my personal life leave A LOT to be desired. It seems that I can’t find the right group of friends and and I might as well forget about ever finding a decent guy – my love life has been an absolute disaster in the last 7 years.

    I have always, always, always wanted to relocate to the west coast. Even now, as I’m considering up and leaving from Philly to somewhere new, I’m weighing the benefits/losses of going across the country. I believe in signs from the universe, I would I have done the same thing. I’m sorry you’ve been discarded 🙁 I know all about how that feels. It’s the worst. Maybe this needed to happen before you left for somewhere new. Certainly you must have learned something. I’d like to think that these horrible things will mean something in hindsight.

    I used to love my job. It was the only thing keeping me together for a long time, really. After my heart was broken (understatement of the century) back in February, I would get there a few hours early and leave a few hours late because I wasn’t sleeping and I didn’t ever want to go home. My job and my coworkers really got me through that horrendously sad time. And they still are getting me through my healing process (and growing process).

    Right now I live for the weekend trips to my parents house, being outside/walking/biking, and my job. But my job is also in Philly and the pain of being there is starting to out weigh the joy of the job. I’m not longer learning new things, and work has gotten monotonous.

    Now my plan is to come back to my hometown, get a place with a friend and either commute to NYC for work, since it’s only 45 minutes away or get a place near the city. It feels just safe enough because my family will be close, but not too safe – as I’m terrified to make any changes at all.

    Yes, there really is not option but to carry on and be okay. I totally agree!

    Bethany Rosselit

    Hi Nicole,

    I am 36 years old, and two years ago, I completely hit the “reset button” on my life. I had been living in a 4-bedroom house in the woods in northern Michigan, and I had been in the same teaching job for 10 years. I lived with my husband and daughter, who has autism.

    We fell in love with sailing and began cruising in the summer. Then, after living aboard and sailing on the Great Lakes for 93 days, things completely fell apart at work. My husband and I realized that we were done with that situation, so we signed our house over to the bank, and moved 1300 miles away, to Houston. We took everything that would fit into our Volvo station wagon!

    I found a teaching job down here, and we lived in an apartment for a year. Then we moved onto a 35 foot sailboat and moved into a marina. We are working toward cruising full-time, and I have started an online business (although I am still teaching right now).

    A few things I learned:

    1. Wherever you go, there you are. I had to do the most work on myself AFTER the move, because the same situation that happened up north, was happening in my new job. And there was only one common variable–me. Once I redefined all the limiting beliefs that were keeping me from setting boundaries and advocating for myself, my situation greatly improved.

    2. There is never a “right time.” You’ll always find reasons to stay in your situation! But when you’re ready, just go for it.

    3. “Failure” isn’t so bad. We learn by trial and error, and you will make mistakes. We ended up in a situation so tight that we needed help getting food, once. And we survived, and learned from it. Am I still glad we moved? Of course.

    I wrote more about my story here: http://www.thechangeblog.com/reset-button/ and in my bio on my website: http://onlinetherapyandcoaching.org .

    Good luck, and keep us posted!



    Hi Nicole! I have started over in different cities in different parts of the country twice now, for different reasons, and I definitely understand wanting to put a lot of space between you and the pain and loneliness that you’ve felt since your move to a new city. Overwhelming pain is hard to deal with!

    Moving can be a fun, exciting distraction and temporarily give you the space you need from your problems, but starting over for the sake of avoiding problems will only bring on more problems until you deal with the underlying issues that are causing your distress. The strong urge you feel to get away comes from within you, and it will resurface if it remains unprocessed and you have problems down the line after you move. The pain you sought to avoid will come back when the dust settles and the boxes are unpacked in a new locale unless you accept it, hold it with compassion, and let it move through you.

    It’s best to be moving toward something rather than away from something. If you’re up for adventure, start over! It’s exhilarating! As you do, be mindful that you are moving forward towards new opportunities and adventures.

    Happy travels!

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 3 months ago by Jo.

    I second Bethany and Jo’s opinion !

    Moving works for some or for a short time but most times the issues re-surface – in a ‘new’ location !!

    GOD bless !!!


    My advice is to make sure you are able to stand on your own two feet. Never become dependent on anyone.
    It’s the worst kind of hell. IMO

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