A new beginning…

…is not about cutting ties

I am back for good in good old Göttingen. And I am somehow relieved that there aren’t too many things that have changed since I left last September. My room has changed – or it was changed by my parents and me. The walls are white and we rearranged the furniture. Now I have space to put on display all the little treasures that I have collected during my travels around the world.

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And even though I am returning to a place and to people that I can call my home it feels like a new stage in my life. We have various moments in our life when we feel like starting a new period – when finishing high school or university, starting a new job, moving to a new city or even country, committing to a new relationship and for some turning 18 years marks the beginning of a new phase. For me, leaving Seattle and coming back to Germany was not the “new start”. I actually cannot really pin down the moment. Maybe there was not even one moment in time that changed everything, but more a process that took me quite some time. And it is still on-going.

For me, this new beginning is not about going to a foreign place where I don’t know anyone and start from zero. I have done that. And it is exhausting! It is also fun, but definitely more exhausting then adventurous. The new beginning is not about leaving everything behind, about trying to forget and exclude all that I hate, all the doubts, desperation and fears. It is not about trying to create something independent from my past – independent from everything I am. In fact, it is exactly about including all of it. And in my case this means that I am not cutting ties, but I am trying to re-build ties with these people who at some point have been really good friends of mine and all had a huge influence on my life.
I have this “talent”. It is like a switch that I can turn and from that moment onwards I am no longer interested in that person – a former friend of mine. I do not feel like meeting with her/him. I know I am not fair, but I cannot uphold that relationship anymore. Usually there was no huge fight or argument. Maybe some things have added up over the past weeks and months, but mostly, I decide to end the relationship/friendship. Or I feel like it is me who decides it. I am really good in alienating friends and quite frankly, I am scared that it seems so easy for me. I have started to warn me friends about this behavior. Anyway, as part of my new beginning I try to concentrate more on me, my surrounding and not the whole wide world with all its opportunities. And this includes my previous friendships. I have already contacted some of my former friends with whom I didn’t really fall out, but whom I treated in an unfair way. And surprisingly, so far they have been really kind and loved to get back in touch. Forgiveness is such a powerful thing! I am not expecting that we will be good friends again, after all, in the past years they and I have changed a lot and everyone is busy in their own lives and schedules. But finding a way to value and validate those shared memories and moments helps me focus on the basic of life: relationships.

A new beginning doesn’t mean turning a back on the past. For me, this new stage is about being very conscious about my past 26 years and about what and who shaped them. Getting to know yourself only works with the help of the people around you. Because we all do not live independently, but in relationships that constantly shape and challenge who we are.

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