Finding good in endings: an opportunity, not a finality.
July 6, 2021
How are you with endings? Good? Bad? Meh? The trouble is, whether we are okay with them or not, we cannot truly escape them. Life is full of beginnings and endings and how we learn to cope with them determines our successes and failures, our highs and lows…our life really. Many times we get to the end of something and we’re sad it’s over. I hate getting to the end of something delicious like my favourite crisps, or a wonderful book, or a fabulous day. So many things in life we’d love to keep on going because they bring us joy and delight, they fulfill a deep sense of belonging or satisfaction and we feel sad at their ending. Some endings are far harder to bear such as the death of a loved one. It’s like being flung into a deep chasm of hurt that seemingly has no bottom and you’re left falling, unsure of its end. But even this pain too, ends. We learn that finding good in endings is possible, even out of such pain and that new opportunity presents itself at the right time, in the right way, meaning that endings are not a finality.
They are a beginning.
In the thick of it
At this moment in time, I’m experiencing an ending in my life. As a result of Covid, I’ve had to take redundancy because my part-time job is no longer viable. It’s been a bit of a long-drawn-out process because of the furlough scheme. I’ve basically known since October 2020 that I would be made redundant, which I initially expected to be at Christmas, but has now been extended a further six months to June. But the point is, that ending is finally here. The end has come.
But how do I feel about it? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure yet. I’ve had plenty of time to process the inevitable end, but now that it’s actually here it feels a little strange. It’s an ending I’ve accepted – embraced really – recognising the possibilities and aware that the job was only a very small part of my life. And yet, there is still that forlorn feeling of an ending. A season has passed, so much relegated to memory and the past that had once been a part of my everyday routine. The knowledge of good services rendered, skills learned, and relationships forged. All done.
It’s all in how you look at it!
Like I said above, so many things have an ending. It’s unavoidable. But it doesn’t then follow that the ending is all bad. It’s up to us what we choose to focus on. For example, in Autumn the leaves of the trees all turn glorious shades of orange, yellow, and red. It’s a beautiful sight to behold. But essentially it marks the end of a season, a transition into another. You could mourn the end of summer, or think about the fact that the trees go through a cycle. They’re spent after their summer glory, they need to dig down deep and process all the goodness they have absorbed. The final hurrah of Autumn marks this change. But even this cannot last and the leaves fall to the ground to be trampled on and decay. But remember, this too serves a purpose. The leaves that fall create food for the tree and plants that surround them. Without this natural cycle, the spring plants wouldn’t be strong enough to come up each year. Little bugs and small animals wouldn’t have protection and warmth through the cold months.
Every ending sparks a new beginning.
Finding good in endings
So too in life, we must seek the good in everything. Endings included. My ending with my job has opened up the opportunity to work with my husband in our business Mind, Body & Soul. It’s allowed me to get back into writing, something I’ve not done in years because time wouldn’t really permit it. It’s given me the chance to support John in new ways, to spend more time with him, to get to know the business better, and to rethink my priorities. This ending has created a new beginning in my life.
Finding good in endings isn’t always easy. Like I said before, some endings are just so painful that it’s impossible to see the good right away. But eventually, we begin to come out of the pain and shafts of light clear a way forward and suddenly finding the good in endings gets easier. What you must remember is that the grieving process is part of the ending. You must allow yourself to feel what you are feeling, to embrace all that your ending encompasses. Don’t ignore it. You’ll only prolong the ending and leave it hanging on. Feel whatever it is you are feeling and then when you start to feel better, seek the good. Seek the new beginning. There always is one. We just need patience sometimes. Patience with ourselves and with our circumstances.
I know I miss my Dad very much, even after 15 years since his passing, but I think more often about the good times we spent together. I do get sad at times, it’s only natural, but it passes and I can once again focus on the good times. Of course, I wish he was still with us, but I have to accept my reality and choose to focus on remembering him well.
If nothing ever ended how would we ever really appreciate the full value in it? If we don’t know what it’s like not to have it, we can’t look back with fondness, with love, and appreciation and realise just how wonderful it was while it lasted. Yes, we may miss it, but we learn to look with new eyes at what was. It’s also good to remember that when one door closes, a window opens somewhere else. By this, I mean that new opportunities, new experiences, new life can only happen when we make room for it. And that just because one chapter has ended, there will not be another. It may not be what you expected, but it could be more incredible than you ever dreamed.
When we cling on desperately to something, be it a memory, an idea, a person, a job, that has either outgrown us, become stagnant, has passed on, we grind to a halt. Our life, which should progress forwards at a steady pace, slows and comes to a stop. We grip onto what we have known, what felt comfortable, safe, known, and refuse to let it go. Even if it’s already gone from us physically. The emotional grip we keep on things that are no longer ours, that have passed on, keeps us from progressing onto new experiences. We fail to make room for all the new and wonderful possibilities that are waiting for us because we cannot accept the end of something else.
So stop trying to pry open that door that has closed, and take a peek out the window that opened up. The view may surprise you!
I encourage you, above all else, to embrace the seasons of your life with grace, with joy, and with hope. Some endings are unbearable, believe me, I know, but there is light beyond that darkness. Some endings require more time to process than others and we must learn to be patient with ourselves through that time. But above all, it is so important that we see these inevitable endings as a new beginning. Unexpected, maybe. Unplanned, for sure. But necessary. Our love for the people, places, and experiences we have around us can only deepen if we embrace the endings and forge ahead into new beginnings. Uncertainty will accompany you. But excitement, curiosity, hope, and joy will also be your companions when you embrace that new horizon.
Finding good endings isn’t so difficult when you set your sights on the new beginnings.