Beginnings must start with ending

My calendar has daily affirmations. Sayings that help me to become the best person I can be.
Such as last Saturday’s: “I deserve to live a good life, and I begin now. Today begins a new, positive chapter in my life.”
It’s the “new” year–a time of new beginnings. Positive beginnings. But this week, I’ve been thinking more about endings than beginnings.
Because, as you know, the two go together!
One early exciting beginning for me was when I left upstate New York to travel to Virginia for college, at age 16. Highlights of the trip were my first long train ride and seeing New York City for the first time.
Then seeing Grand Central Station . . . and it really was “Grand” with its massive staircase.
And the wonder of college–living with my newfound friends from morning to night. I loved college! Not so much for the studies, but for the social life.
When there is a beginning, however, there is always an ending. As the huge locomotive braked and steamed to a stop that September night in Lowville, N.Y. years ago, I had to hug my parents and my 11-year-old brother goodbye.
A sad ending. I loved my family and the secure, tight, caring community where I grew up. How would I get along without them!
But time goes on. Old experiences give way to new ones. And in a few short years, it was time to leave college—another ending.
I still remember the bond we felt as the girls (turned to young women) on our wing sat on the floor and held hands to sing, “Blest be the tie that binds.”
“When we asunder part/It gives us inward pain/But we shall still be joined in heart/And hope to meet again.”
Even though we hoped to meet again, we sang with teary eyes.
Endings are usually like that. Still, the fact is that every experience has an ending. For instance, your adult children come home for Christmas. What fun it is when they arrive! Then, the days fly by and the ending comes all too soon.
You live in the same house for 40 years. It’s your home. But then you become adventurous and decide to move to a retirement community. A new, simpler home is appealing, but the ending is hard to take.
The truth is that life is a process–a wonderful, exciting, scary, nostalgic process.
Several weeks ago, I referenced Cindy Glovinsky’s book, “Making Peace with the Things in Your Life.” Glovinsky reminds us that none of us owns anything permanently.
“Each of our things flows through our fingers temporarily, on its way to somewhere else,” she says.
And the same thing could be said about experiences. Every experience you have is worthwhile in itself and also prepares you for your next experience.
And the people from that experience are part of your life forever. But like college friends, you have to let go in order to explore new experiences!
Whatever your age, there are new beginnings waiting for you if you are brave enough to deal with the endings.
What new beginning are you ready for now, and are you ready for the ending that will make it possible?
Write Marie Snider at thisside60@cox.net

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