150 years ago if one's life wasn't what they wanted it to be - maybe one was in a failing relationship, going broke, faced some sort of legal trouble, or public disgrace - one could always pull up stakes and move far away to another town and start life anew with a clean slate. People still do this, or rather attempt to do this, but the 'getting away' part has become more difficult to do as the world has shrunk. Relatively few of us may choose to change legal identities and/or move to another state or country, but many of us do experience clean slates on less dramatic scales as we change professions, move to strange new locations, end relationships or start new ones.
You ever "start over"? (it also occurs to me that some folks do the 'clean slate' thing by dramatically altering their inner lives too, e.g. finding religion or fighting addictions)
What did you change in your life? Did the past ever really get left behind, or did your baggage follow you to your new town/relationship/job?