Perhaps I should just start over

Abandon everything I’ve got here, move somewhere new, and just start over.

I’ll admit, the idea floats into my consciousness every now and then. That never used to be the case, but over the past half-year it’s occurred to me numerous times.

It’s not that I’m unhappy…for the most part I enjoy the life I’ve built. But I’m not sure if I’m content. Or perhaps I’m worried that I’m too content. I don’t really know. Suffice to say that I’m satisfied with what I’ve done up until now, but I’m not satisfied being where I am today.

And I find myself realizing that every time that’s happened—whether I realized it or not—I’ve undergone a major shift to get things on a new track. I changed when I moved from Squamish to Victoria for boarding school. I changed when I left Victoria for the University of Waterloo. I changed when I left the engineering program to get an English degree. And I changed when Andreea and I broke up years ago, which put me on the current path.

It’s been a good path. I like my job and the people I work with. I enjoy my theatre activities and volunteer efforts. I love my friends dearly.

But as good as all that is, I need to grow out of it. I feel like I’m stuck in a rut…even the new things I do are just reflections of the person I am now. I think I’m capable of more, but I don’t know how to push myself forward, short of starting fresh.

So let’s turn it around. If I were on the outside looking in, what would I tell me?

What you need to do is stop treating every single request as a person’s last wish. You always feel like you’re letting someone down if you don’t help them out, even if you have to compromise your own well-being to assist them. You’ve put your needs behind others’ far too often, and so long as you do that, you’ll never figure out what you really want.

What you’ll realize is that you don’t need to run away from everything you’ve built here. If you control how much you do, instead of letting others dictate your schedule, then you’ll realize that’s the big change you need to make. You’ll create the free time you need to push your own agenda. You’ll stop filling every spare moment with some new activity, simply because you can.

The tough part will be your own perception. No one will think less of you if you stop being the guy who’s always ready and willing to lend a hand…most of your friends will be glad that you’re taking time for yourself. If you think about it, your closest friends never ask anything of you, because they don’t want to add to your plate. And they’re frustrated every time they talk to you and learn that you’ve taken on a task for someone else.

But you have this image of yourself that you need to perpetuate. You love being dependable and reliable—it’s your nature—and you tell yourself that being that guy makes you happy. It does, but only to an extent. After all, being that guy is ultimately making you unhappy. You just won’t admit it to yourself.

Let’s put it this way. You’re almost 30, and what’s changed since you were 25? That’s what’s bothering you. Sure, you’re very active and accomplishing lots of small things, but you haven’t tackled any of your major goals in life, because you haven’t gotten around to setting them. And frankly, that’s a waste of your potential. Sure, you were probably ahead of a lot of people at 25, but now you’re beginning to fall behind. Or you already have.

I love who you are. I love what you stand for, and the moral values you hold dear. That’s your core…the part of you that’s been there through all of the big changes in your life. But you need to move forward, and to do so you have to abandon the image you have of yourself—a perfectly reasonable and good person. Because you can be someone who’s even better.

One more thing…stop talking to yourself in public. That’s just crazy.



  1. You know – you give pretty good advice. Question is, can you take it?

  2. It’s quite amazing how we’ll continue to be the same type of person we are simply because it’s what we think other people expect us to be. I found that by slowly doing things that were a little bit different and by gradually introducing these new aspects into my life, it made the transition a lot easier.

    Make the change, Russ. We want you to enjoy your life – not live it for other people.

  3. Think of it this way: The thing that would make your friends the happiest is to see you be happy. I’m not taking about the facade of ‘happy” that comes out when you’re only feeling so-so. I mean the true, down to the bone happiness that you deserve. And it’s not going to happen overnight, but it’s less likely to happen until you accept that you have to make a change in yourself.

    We all know who you are, and we have all seen the true strength of your moral fibre time and time again. That part of you will never change. But you need to find balance between being selfless and doing the things that YOU want to do. A part of us will always feel bad knowing that there’s nothing we can do to convince you of that. (Although that doesn’t mean we won’t keep trying.)

    Remember, the universe needs balance, good and evil needs balance … RUSS NEEDS BALANCE, TOO.

  4. Hey Russ… wow, I’ve been feeling the same way lately. Make sure you live your life from your gut, for yourself and for no one else. If you feel overwhelmed by things, take a break, a step back – the people who care will still be around when you step forward.

    Hang tight…

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