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People tend to look at ‘fresh starts’ as something you have to earn by messing something up horribly in life and reinventing yourself entirely. They look at it as a last ditch effort, a hail Mary, a final straw when there’s nothing left that can go wrong in life. However, fresh starts are so much more than just starting over so you can avoid dealing with the problems of your past. Second chances give you the opportunity to reinvent yourself and work on the flaws and shortcomings you’ve identified within yourself. Second chances are your shot to reconceptualizing what it means to be you.

People choose to give themselves a second chance for any number of reasons, but it’s important to remember that there is no wrong reason or wrong time for you to start over. Maybe you’re moving to a new city for a job and you want to reinvent yourself to be more in tune with your new residence. Maybe you were fired at work and you want to start fresh by working in a new industry. Fresh starts can even include things like furthering your education or changing your perception of those around you. The important thing, and really the only thing that matters, is that you’ve decided you want to hit reset and start over. You don’t even have to completely reinvent yourself, either. Think of it as personal branding and determine if there are any aspects of your life that you want to take back to the drawing board.

The beautiful thing about a fresh start is the only person who can determine whether or not to hit refresh is you. No one can force you into a fresh start; even if someone deliberately tries to sabotage you, you can take control of that narrative and keep it from defining your life.

This life you’re living is yours to pilot as you see fit. You can steer it through any storm that comes your way head-on if you so choose, or you can stop and work out the kinks when they arise in your path. You can learn to accept and live with your faults and flaws, or you can take action and work to combat them and change your story. Your life is your own, so live it.