Last Of The Old, First Of The New

In my working counseling many hundreds of individuals and couples over the past two decades I've noticed that many people are striving to create new paradigms in their lives that are very different from anything they experienced in their family heritage. For example, I've seen countless courageous parents attempting to raise their children in ways that represent a striking departure from the way they themselves were brought up. Many people are making commitments to personal growth throughout their entire life cycle when such effort was unheralded in previous generations.

I consider these people to be pioneers of a new landscape, not just figurative but literal explorers in an uncharted world with few existing guideposts. One of the major challenges to being the "first of the new" is the relative absence of meaningful precedence to fall back on, and this lack of easily accessible guidance has resulted in many people simply "winging it", trying to figure out the best they can how to make their way across unfamiliar emotional and relational terrain. It is as if they are cutting a new trail through a wilderness.

I think this accounts for the value that people can find in counseling and mutual support groups. 12-step fellowships and other self-help groups for a wide range of life issues serve as valuable "watering holes" where like-minded pioneers can learn from each other, share insights and gain strength and support.

Are you the last of what has come before you or the first of what is coming next? If you are on a dedicated path of personal growth then you can probably identify both aspects within yourself. Continuity with the past and openness to the future is a grand and often tenuous balance. Don't go it alone. Find others who are forging the path to a new way of living in a world that calls for our continued emotional evolution. We need all the help we can get and give.


Bill Herring, LCSW, CSAT is a highly experienced Atlanta-based counselor and psychotherapist offering a respectful, motivational, non-confrontational approach to individuals and couples seeking to live a happier and more meaningful life.  While working with a wide range of adult clients, Mr. Herring is a nationally recognized specialist on compulsive sexual behavior and chronic sexual infidelity.  He is available for confidential consultation and counseling, and may be easily reached by phone or email .