Usually, when someone says they want to start over with a clean slate, what is it that most people think? Well, the immediate assumption is that the person is running from something (e.g., a failed marriage, a bankrupt business, an infamous reputation, etc.). It's easy to understand why people have this reaction. More often than not, it's true!
But that's not always the case.
One of the reasons that Della and I are looking forward to our impending move to the Columbia Gorge is because we get to go someplace where there will be that proverbial clean slate. I've found that it's far easier to reinvent or refine yourself in an area where nobody knows you!!
For example, those who have battled alcohol or drugs and have turned their lives around often try to leave their druggie or drinking buddies behind. You see, their "buddies" know them predominantly in the drug or alcohol setting and don't know how to deal with their newly sober friend. So, they try to drag them back to familiar territory -- getting totally wasted -- and this can make a former addict's recovery very tenuous.
Della and I have a good reputation in South Bend. People know us as a loving couple who are friendly and willing to lend a hand. Of course, folks around here know Della much better than they know me because she's the far more social one! So, we're not running away from anything.
But life is about growing, regardless of your age. While I am happy with the person I am, there is certainly room for improvement! The people around here are used to me being one particular way and look at me askance when I try to be of a different way. I'm not mad about it -- I understand that this is the way it is. I also understand that I'm often guilty of the same thing.
I simply look at this move as a golden opportunity to further refine the person I am without the encumbrances of others who have grown to expect me to behave or think this way or that. By moving to a community where no one knows me from Adam, the only expectations I will have to combat are my wife's and MY OWN.
The fact that I still harbor my own expectations of myself belies the ideation of the clean slate. Nothing is ever that clean!