Here We Go Again!
I got the call just after 3:30 a few Tuesdays ago. I’m not sure if it’s because on some level I was expecting the other shoe to drop, or because around here, we are no strangers to upheaval and surprises of the, ‘not always warm fuzzy’ variety, but my reaction was underwhelming. Bordering on nonchalant even.
“I just got let go,” he said.
Pause while the thought, “So this is how it’s gonna be eh universe?” runs through my head.
“Wow. I’m really sorry. Are you o.k.?”
His reaction, equally as underwhelming, “Yeah, I’m fine actually. Maybe a little surprised, but really o.k. I’ll stop at the grocery store on the way home and I’ll fill you in more when I get there.”
When we hung up, deep breath, long exhale, and out loud this time, “Well then, here we go again I guess.”
Another life change. Another new beginning.
My life, our life together, has been a series of new beginnings.
The idea of new beginnings always sounds so exciting and hopeful right? Like that first breath of spring air that wakes you from your winter slumber and ushers in thoughts of brighter, warmer, easier days. And it can be so awesome when it happens that way. When the new beginnings are by choice. When they involve planning and preparation and a conscious decision on your part. But in my experience, they rarely ever happen that way. Even when you plan them, you can never really be certain of how things will play out.
For example, you can choose to have a baby or change careers (both of which I have done... more than once), but beyond the initial decision, you can’t possibly predict the outcome. You just have to trust that life is nudging you in the right direction and that in the end, it will all work out.
Here’s the thing about new beginnings – they always follow endings. Sometimes those endings are a welcome relief. After 8 long months of winter, we’re all pretty happy to welcome spring. But other times, the endings come swiftly, unexpectedly or harshly. Those kinds of endings can leave us so blindsided that they cloud our vision and prevent us from seeing the new opportunities on the horizon.
When those kinds of endings happen, like being suddenly let go from your job, with little explanation, no justification, and less than 10 minutes to gather what you can carry and be on your way, it can be really easy to get mired down in negative emotions, resentment, anger, confusion, hopelessness. It can be SO easy to succumb to the dark side, to let fear take hold.
But don’t do it! Don’t let yourself go down that rabbit hole. If you do, it may take forever to find your way out. And you don’t have forever!
Sure, you should stop and rest awhile. Let your new reality sink in. Allow for some time to lick your wounds. You can (and should) even feel and acknowledge those negative emotions that creep in. Because they will, and that’s o.k. It’s what happens when you’re human and you’ve suffered a loss in some way.
But please, don’t get stuck there in the fear and negativity, because that shit will mess you right up! If you find yourself spiraling into the abyss and not able to get yourself out, go find someone who can help you, STAT! You owe it to yourself, to the people you care about, and to the world, not to let the bastards drag you down.
Being the hero always feels so much better in the end. I know this from experience, and from watching what happens when people choose the role of the victim. It ain’t pretty. You don’t want to go there. Please don’t go there.
One of the reasons I’m so grateful for the many difficult times in our life together, is that they have taught us so much. From experience, we’ve learned that endings happen, whether we are ready for them or not. We’ve learned not to freak out when they do come. We’ve learned that endings, if you’re willing to trust the process, and not make emotionally driven, rash decisions or take impulsive action, will always lead to new beginnings. Those new beginnings might start out rocky and feel a little uncertain, but if we give them a chance, they will lead us to some undiscovered treasure.
We lose a loved one and it breaks our heart and disrupts our world, but it can bring us closer to other people, it can show us the support and compassion we never saw before. It can force us to face our own mortality and to act more bravely in our lives, before our own time runs out.
We lose a friendship and it hurts, but it allows us to seek out new friends, maybe friends who are really part of our tribe, friends who ‘get us’, encourage us, and accept us for who we are.
We move to a new city and it’s scary and uncertain, but we end up meeting new people and having new experiences that we never would have had otherwise.
We lose a job and it allows us the opportunity to start over in a new career, one that is more fulfilling and helps us shine our full light in the world.
We have a baby and the days of being footloose and fancy free are over, but we have a new little person to love that will allow us to experience life in ways we never realized were possible.
The list goes on, because endings happen all the time. Endings are part of the cycle of nature and life. Endings are a normal part of our evolution. They are going to happen no matter how hard we resist, so instead of fighting the inevitable when it happens, it’s so much less painful and more productive to just allow the ending to play out. Face it with grace and trust and humility. Then welcome the new beginning as best you can. Look at it as an opportunity to evolve, to grow, to learn. Focus on what could be, instead of on what was.
If we’d gotten caught up in fear, anger, blame and resentment, when Sean recently lost his job, we would have spent the last few weeks fretting, fuming, plotting revenge, wondering how we’re going to survive, and most definitely arguing a hell of a lot. Instead, we spent minimal time ‘on the dark side’. Instead, the last few weeks have been full of meaningful connections, laughter, family time, getting shit done, re-evaluating and exploring new opportunities... a perfect mix of going with the flow, taking action and making plans.
The world is our oyster. We’re choosing to trust that the universe has our backs. Even though we didn't choose it, this latest new beginning, just might be the best one yet!
"New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings." ~ Lao Tzu