“If I must start somewhere, right here and now is the best place imaginable.” ~Richelle E. Goodrich

Beginnings can be beautiful. They can signal fresh starts, dreams realized or long awaited moments finally coming to fruition.

But beginnings can also be bumpy. They can be charged with anxiety, worry, fear and panic.

New starts often mean that change is taking place, and change—for better or worse—can always cause mixed emotions.

I thought of this a lot over the past couple of weeks as I prepared for and started a new semester of teaching. While I was excited to get back to work and meet my students, a lot of preparation takes place before I can be ready.

There’s reading, writing and lesson planning. There’s thinking things through and then scratching things out.  There’s research and development. There’s feeling just about done, right before the moment you realize there’s so much more to do.

It feels like I am never fully ready.

I think a lot of us can feel this way about beginnings. We never feel completely ready to move to a new home, to start a new job, to become a parent or to take a leap of faith.

But time has taught me that at some point, we simply have to begin.

And so that’s what I did.

When I went into my office after being away for weeks, it felt like I was just there the day before.

We are funny like that. Somehow we slide right into old routines or create news ones without even noticing.  Suddenly, the new beginning becomes yesterday’s story, dimming into a memory where we can’t remember why we worried so much to begin with.

I sat at my desk and did the first thing I always do. I picked a quote from my quote box that would be the saying on display for the day. I laughed when I picked this:

“Start by starting.” ~Meryl Streep

Yes! That’s exactly it.

As the ultimate planner, I want to feel everything is perfectly in place and set up exactly as it should be. But of course there is no such thing as perfection and so there is no moment when I feel I’m finished. There’s just me at the starting line wishing I could stall a little longer until I am ready to take off.

We forget that everything that came before was leading to our take off, and we really are ready.

We can be our own worst enemy when it comes to moving on or moving forward. We hit pause, or we hit rewind and repeat, when all we need to do is hit play.

Start by starting.

It’s no secret really. It’s actually pretty simple, but we tend to overcomplicate things.

The unknown can cause our imagination to go into overdrive. We overthink, over-worry and over-calculate. And in the process of all this over-analysis we forget that sometimes all we need to do is take a step forward, say yes, hit play, begin and start.

The only way to stop fearing the unknown is to rally, rise up and meet it.@UniverseLetters (Click to Tweet!)

But what comes next? What happens after we finally start?

You don’t need to know. You just need to trust that you’ll figure things out, as you always have before.

You walk into the classroom and trust you know what to do next.

You say yes to the blind date and trust yourself to figure out if this could be the beginning of a new relationship.

You get out of bed and begin your day, even after your world has been turned upside down, trusting that somehow life is all working out in perfect order, in perfect timing.

(It is.)

How do you trust?

Well, that’s simple too.

You trust by trusting.

That’s right. That easy. That hard.

Try and remember that the next time you find yourself stuck on pause, or rewinding to the past. The only way to move forward is to hit play and to repeat these words to yourself:

“And so it goes: I start by starting. Then I trust by trusting.”

Angie Sarhan received her M.F.A in Creative Non-Fiction from Emerson College.  She currently teaches college writing.  When she’s not teaching, she enjoys traveling, cooking and writing—especially her inspirational, positivity-packed, sometimes humorous, always lighthearted blog. For more inspiration, you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.



Image courtesy of Tj Holowaychuk.