I wanted to get that off my chest right away. "They" say that the average lifespan of a blog is less than two years. Mine has been around for a bit longer than that now. That's a win right there. The absence of posting over the summer, however, would suggest that I am no longer active as a writer. The contrary is true: I'm writing constantly - for grad school - which leaves little time for anything else. My summer job took my time, grad school took my brain. Nothing is left for the internet.
But I have a dream...
The drastic change my life has taken over the past 18 months has prompted many posts, and now, my absence from and return to the interwebs has prompted another:
How do you move from one thing to another? From one season to the next?
How do you end, then come back?
An absence of any kind- a trip, a vacation, a hiatus, a life change, job change... These are endings and beginnings, all rolled into one compact timeframe. I call them "Begendings."
I feel begendings are frequently overlooked. We don't think about the end of something and the beginning of another with much intention. We might think about it with dread, or anticipation, or ambivalence, but rarely with a plan in mind. We move from one season to the other without learning what we should, and ignoring the effects that the change in phase has on us - and it does have an effect. Most of these changes manifest as lessons lost, repeated mistakes, stunted growth, a feeling of stuckness and unresolvedness. The ignored begending takes its toll.
So how can we better prepare for begendings?
This great book I read, called Necessary Endings (Cloud, 2011) ((I can't believe I just cited like that)), talks about the process of endings and beginnings. One great tip was doing an autopsy of what has just passed. This examination gives us a place to retain the lessons of the last season, and to grow in the next. Self reflection may be the most powerful tool we have to create change in our lives, and a great way to process begendings.
2. Go Gradually
Another valuable tip is to prepare for the transition. When we come back from a great trip, we experience "re-entry" blues. Don't quit the former season cold turkey. Schedule phone calls with friends you are leaving, make a scrap book, plan a reunion. Phase yourself out gradually. Give yourself opportunities to find closure and honor what has come and gone.
3. Live in Your Moment
The last tip is to live in the here and now. Dwelling on the past, after you've processed it, robs you of opportunities in the present. "Back when... we had... and it was so much better." We've all had similar conversations. Allowing this to become a habit actually hardwires your brain to stay in the past. Speak about the present and the future positively. Plan your next steps using the information you gleaned from your autopsy. Move forward with intention, knowing that you've entered a new season with more wisdom and insight than before.
Embrace your begendings - beginnings and endings - with intention, preparation and boldness.