I know, I know. The expression is “spring forward, fall back.” But I’m not talking about adjusting the clock on your microwave; I’m talking about much more significant adjustments: the kind that change your life. And, on this first day of autumn, a season many of us associate with renewal, I find that a lot of people I talk to are pretty taken with idea of life having a “reboot” button.
But here’s the thing: you are not a laptop. Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t “reset to factory condition.” And if you could, you’d lose a hell of a lot of experience and hard-won growth in the process. So when I talk about changing your life, in big ways or small, I’m not talking about a clean slate, I’m talking about going through your baggage, discarding what doesn’t serve you, packing up the lessons learned, and moving on. Lighter. Invigorated. Not wiped blank, but renewed.
The biggest thing I know about moving forward is that it is almost guaranteed that you will fall. We all knew this the moment we tried our first, tentative steps, but many of us have forgotten that falling is an inherent part of taking risks and making progress, not a sign that we screwed up or have failed. We grow older, as our metaphorical joints grow seemingly less flexible and, in our heads, more fragile, we can become unwilling to risk a fall. We become stuck and complacently, resignedly so, even when we are stuck in a place that really, really isn’t working for us.