It’s hard for most of us to accept that some things must come to an end. Friendships and romances, partnerships and opportunities. It’s difficult for us to close the door on the things that once made us happy, that offered bright promise during dark times. Things, or people, that helped us find love or hope or happiness.
But the hard truth is that not everything can last forever and things end; sometimes abruptly, sometimes fading away slowly until they’re just a speck disappearing in the distance.
We can’t hold onto things forever, no matter how firmly we fix our grasp upon them. We can’t force people to stay and seldom can we control the situations we find ourselves in.
But what we can do is remember one simple, undeniable reality. And that is that new prospects will always arise from the end of something else. That it’s okay to let go of something that ends, even when it’s devastatingly painful. Even when it’s something that seems like it’s being yanked away from you before you’re ready.
This idea of the new beginnings that can arise even from the midst of something heartbreaking.
This is not in any way an ode to the end of 2016. I’m not going to write down all of the ways to make 2017 better or more fulfilling. I won’t talk about resolutions and setting goals and framing the New Year in a more positive mindset. Because the fact of the matter is that we should be doing this all the time, automatically. Not just when the current year is winding down. Not just when a fresh year is starting.
We need to always be reminding ourselves of these things. That situations come to a close. That relationships end, ones that we’ll never get back. That we make mistakes. That people will leave our lives, and that sometimes we’ll even be the ones to do the leaving. That the ending of things will sometimes feel excruciating, even when we deep down know that it’s the right thing, the only thing.
We shouldn’t only be thinking of this reality each December. The years’ close shouldn’t be our only period of self-reflection. It shouldn’t be the only time we decide to let go of those things that are inevitably over.
We need to start reminding ourselves, teaching each other, that endings are always going to happen. But that with endings come rebirths.
Because who has ever started something new, something exciting, without finishing something first? It’s only when we’re defeated by the prospect of something ending that we think to pull ourselves up and try something different. Because what else do we have to lose?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing erroneous in making that New Year’s resolution. With developing a new plan of action for the new year, especially after the cruel one that 2016 has been for many of us.
But what we do need to remember is that we might fail. We might not follow through. Our plans might change. Other things might wind up coming to a close, things that we weren’t at all expecting. And that’s perfectly okay.
Life is a process, a series of ups and downs. A sequence of unpredictable happenings. It’s not black and white and most of the events that fill up the timeline of our lives are very rarely planned or expected.
But isn’t that the whole point? Isn’t that what life is meant to be about? The things that end and the new opportunities that come out of them. The ways in which we fight and struggle and conquer and overcome.
“But still like dust I rise.”
Try not to see the end of something as the end of everything. But by all means, grieve. Let yourself feel it. Let yourself miss that person you’ll never see again. That mistake you made that you can never take back. That time you gave up and lost hold of that make or break opportunity. Let yourself mourn for the end of something that meant so much to you, that something that probably always will.
But know this: One day you will wake up and it won’t hurt so bad. That you’ll go through entire days without playing out that ending in your mind. That soon there will be whole stretches of time when it never even crosses your mind, until one day it’s just an uncomfortable memory.
Know that one day you will look back and see that event not as the end, but as a starting point. As the pivot that turned everything around. As the thing that gave you the courage to try something new, something that would come to a beautiful fruition.
Let yourself realize that every wonderful thing that you’ve experienced is so because something else ended, not in spite of it.
And as we all enter 2017, remind yourself that something cosmic is happening out there. Maybe it’s fate or maybe it’s just chance, but everything is going to turn out okay.
Things will end, while others are just beginning.