The thing about endings

Letting Go

By Belinda Thomson

Some things have an in-built ending. When we start school, we know that we’ll be out of there 13 years later. Go see a movie, and you leave when the credits roll.

But often in life, the hardest part is knowing when to end things. When is it time to go home on a fun night out? (Around the time that kebabs seems like a good idea, I reckon). When has a relationship run its course? When does a great job become stale?

This week I resigned from the job I’ve had for nearly eight years. It was a long, slow break-up. I actually resigned last year, but ended up taking a sabbatical and changing my role instead. Eventually, though, I knew it wasn’t going to work. My boss knew it too.

The thing is, it’s not just a job I’m leaving. There are people with whom I’ve worked for the best part of decade – friends as much as colleagues. People know and understand me; I don’t need to explain my propensity for swearing or my habit of eating meat for breakfast. It’s just me.

Looking ahead, looking back

When you’re focused on the next step, change is energising.  Looking for a new job is a tedious process, but it’s exciting to think about the next phase.

Once the offer’s in and the contracts are signed though, there’s way too much time for reflection. You have to get your head around the ‘ending’ part, not just the ‘beginning’.

The day I secured my new gig, we popped a bottle of champagne. After two glasses I was crying into my bubbles, thinking about all that I was walking away from.

When things change, the past collides with the present and the future, and frankly, it sucks sometimes.

Making tough decisions

A year ago, I waved goodbye to four of my best friends, who moved interstate and overseas. They could have had the good grace to space out their departures, but as fate would have it, these endings were compressed into one month. It sucked a lot.

However, it was a change that was imposed on me, not a decision I had to make myself.

Perhaps the hardest ending is the one you create yourself. The one you don’t want to face, but know it’s best for you.

The one where you wake at 3am wondering whether it was the right call or if you could change your mind. Or just questioning whether you are really equipped for adult life. Maybe I just don’t do endings well.

Letting go

I tried to explain to someone recently that the best thing about country music is this: whatever emotion you’re experiencing, someone has already written a song about it.

Rascal Flatts says that when you’re facing loss, you just have to ‘Let it Hurt’. And that’s the thing about life: we are always letting go of something. We can’t avoid the experience, nor can we control the emotions it calls forth.

All we can do is listen to the Buddha, when he says:

‘In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go’.

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  1. Being kind enough to yourself to feel okay about a bit of grieving is legit, and shouldn’t be looked at as self-indulgence, I reckon.

    • Simon Faivel
    • March 8th, 2014

    A beautiful thought about something which is all encompassing and ever-present yet intrinsically hard. Thank you sharing Belinda.

    • Thanks Simon. I guess the hardest things in life are also the things that move us forward.

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