Monday, December 9, 2013

Endings and Beginnings


“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”
—Joseph Campbell

The year is winding down and though I’m having a hard time realizing it’s nearly Christmas (because it’s 85 degrees here), it’s nearly Christmas! And nearly the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014.

Endings and beginnings have been on my mind lately. This year has had more than its share of them. My son graduated from high school and started college. My niece got married, and two beloved family members died. We’re all adjusting to our altered roles and circumstances. Life keeps flowing by faster and faster, with beginnings and endings—change—nearly a constant. Here are some thoughts that have helped me negotiate the tricky emotional terrain of beginnings and endings.

When something significant is ending, whether it’s a job, relationship, or stage of life, we should recognize and accept that the ending is taking place—even celebrate it. Don’t struggle against it because that will only make it harder. Even though I’m thrilled that my son has moved on to college, at first I felt a certain loss of identity—I no longer had a child at home, and all the physical and emotional energy I poured into that role suddenly had no place to go. I was surprised at how much impact that had on me. Celebrating the real accomplishment of raising a child to age 18 and getting him through public school and into college helped me adjust.

Endings can shock us into remembering what’s really important. When something ends, it’s a good time to take stock of where we are and where we want to go. How can we move forward? What positives can we take from what just ended? What types of feelings has the ending stirred up? It’s OK to feel angry or to grieve when faced with an ending. It helps me to repeat the phrase, “Let it happen, let it go.” (And breathe. Don’t forget to breathe.)

Endings are merely times of transition between what was and what will be. Each one is a new beginning—and most people think of beginnings with excitement and anticipation. Something fantastic might be just around the corner! Keeping that in mind can help us accept what ends in our lives, learn from it, and look forward to what comes next.

Is something ending for you? Is something beginning?

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2 comments:

Laure Ferlita said...

Nice post, Kathy. At times, the changes come so fast and furious that it's hard to get to a place of balance, much less keep it.

Sometimes, I have to just let go and step back to catch my breath and find my equilibrium.

I hope that 2014 holds many happy beginnings for you and your family!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Thanks, Laure. This has been an especially whirlwind-y year. Thanks for the wishes for 2014, too.