Stress and Endings

Endings are stressful. While there are many kinds of endings and some tend to be better than others, when the door closes , when something ends, we react. How we react depends on our perception of what’s ending. For example, if it’s something we don’t want to end (maybe a relationship, a night out, etc.) , we may keep trying to open that door and doing whatever we can to keep it from ending for one more moment. . Or if it’s an ending that we are welcoming (like an unhealthy relationship, a “bad” date, etc.) , we may have a “good riddance” celebration. Or if we’re just not sure of something ending (quitting a job, moving to a new location, etc), we may hold an ambivalent grip on the door handle. Depending on your perspective on what is ending, your response mirrors it.

Let me give an example. Today is the last day of the month. It seems to have flown by. I found myself reflective on what this means, this last day of the month, an ending of sorts. It has been a month filled with “good” stress and “not-so-good” stress. Some good things have happened, some not so good. What I recognized, though, is that I’ve enjoyed many moments. Some surprising moments (like seeing individuals I wasn’t expecting to see, a cousin who was in town and invitations to some cool events); some anticipatory moments (like seeing my friends and family, meetings with students to help them on their professional path; getting paid); and some unpleasant moments (like being rejected; stood up; and faulted). And each of these moments ended. And a new one came. And then another. And another. And before I knew it, there was another experience that I perceived as surprising, anticipatory or unpleasant. None of these moments stayed, lingered, or stuck.

My point is that while endings can be stressful, the “ending” itself doesn’t last. It morphs into something else, a different moment. An opportunity for some welcomed news, a fresh start, a lesson learned, some personal insight, a change. This is something that helped me through some of those unpleasant moments. Those unpleasant, not so fun places that are a part of the human experience, eventually are interesting moments to moving forward. Not sure how this will help me when I go to the dentist, but that’s another story.

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