Starting Over in the Moment

by Karen Mann

Last weekend, we traveled to San Francisco to celebrate the Lunar New Year. I joined my husband’s family to spend time together, catch up, wish one another prosperity in the new year, and of course, to eat. 

We briefly visited Chinatown, and while I always knew it was steeped in a rich history, I only recently learned that it is the oldest in North America, established in the 1850s, and one of the largest Chinese enclaves outside of Asia.

I caught this shot of the proud firefighters of San Francisco overseeing the celebration at the intersection of Grant and Broadway. I said hi, acknowledged their 49ers flag, and they told me they’d never heard of The Kansas City Chiefs. It was a fun, lighthearted exchange, and I smiled afterward. 

It is the year of the Dragon, which is my Chinese zodiac sign, so it seemed more significant this time. But it isn’t; only my belief makes this true. Still, I’m curious to see what manifests for me as I carry this belief that “this is my year!”.

This also had me thinking about my belief around these ceremonial new beginnings, like New Year’s Day. I always build them up and noticed myself doing the same with the Lunar New Year. What new habit can I create, what change can I make, and how will I make different decisions on the precipice of this new year? 

And that stopped me in my tracks. All this emphasis on “starting over” made me realize that this implies I’d been doing something wrong until now. And then I felt some kind of way. Shame? Disappointment? Can I make wanting to do something differently not mean anything was wrong with me at the start? Can I see the value in my decisions up until this moment? 

These new beginning moments can also feed the programming that it’s okay if I do this thing now, whatever it is, like eating the “bad” food, skipping the gym, leaving the mess in the kitchen, because there’s a future moment when I’ll do it differently, and it’s not now. It’s tomorrow. It’s Monday. It’s when I turn 50. It’s the Lunar New Year. What if I let go of that?

It reminds me of that old joke: Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? Hah!

So, I am dropping the narrative that I was doing something wrong. AND I can still treat every moment as a new beginning. Every “NOW” is where you make the decision, and no moment needs to be a better time to make a loving choice than right here, right now, and no choice needs to mean you weren’t okay before.  

Mel Robbins has a great practice where she’ll choose an action and then do a countdown to it to help her follow through: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Do the thing! Get out of bed. Write the email. Put on your gym shoes. Choose a food you love, and that loves you back.  

Are you an “I’ll start over tomorrow” kinda person? What if whatever it is you plan to start some other time starts right now?

Go for it! Do the thing now. Like NOW! And I’ll do it, too!

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