“The end of one chapter is the beginning of the next. Keep on reading…the best is yet to come!”
I remember sitting at my baccalaureate ceremony the day before high school graduation and hearing the song, “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” by Green Day play as baby pictures of the 1997 graduating class scrolled across the large screen on stage.
I was actually excited to graduate from high school and start the next chapter of my life. I was ready to move into my first apartment and begin my freshman year at the University of Kansas.
I hadn’t really been sad about leaving high school, but something happened when that song came on. Looking around at the students in my class, putting their arms around each other swaying to the music made me tear up as I realized I was closing a pretty monumental chapter in my life.
Life is a bit like writing a book. We don’t always get to write the entire thing, sometimes someone takes your book and scribbles in a few unexpected paragraphs that you might wish weren’t there; but nonetheless, it’s your novel with many MANY chapters.
Like a book, life has a beginning, and end, and a lot of chapters in between that propel you from one event to another:
- Starting Kindergarten
- High School Graduation
- College Graduation
- Having children
- Your kids leaving home
- Leaving a job to start a new one
- Moving into a new house
- Starting a new relationship
- Ending a relationship
- Saying goodbye to friends or family
Whether it’s an exciting chapter you’re getting ready to enter, or one that makes you want to put the book back on the shelf, each chapter is a part of your story, your journey…and you can’t start the next one if you keep re-reading the last one (or the last 20).
So why is it sometimes so hard to turn the page, pick that pen up and start writing the next chapter?
What can you do?
- CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE: I talked about this before when I gave suggestions on ways to change up the monotony of your day. If you have just started a new job and are anxious, don’t start the morning getting your toast and coffee ready like you did when you had your previous job, try switching it up…eggs!
- TRY SOMETHING NEW: You and your ex always started Saturday morning by taking the dog for a walk, then you both went out to brunch. In this chapter, go meet your friends for an early Saturday spin class or cook a big brunch and invite people over.
- BE KIND TO YOURSELF: If the chapter you are leaving was painful, you might have to experience grief in the first part of this next chapter. That’s OK! Give yourself grace, not all chapters start off keeping you on the edge of your seat…maybe this one starts as a tearjerker.
- STOP LOOKING BACK: Rather than looking back and reminiscing on Chapter 14, take what you loved about that Chapter, use that fuel to start Chapter 15. You are never going to forget the prologue, the intro or Chapters 1-XX (well wait, you might not remember your birth chapter too well) those Chapters are what will inspire this next one!
We ALL have to move forward with new chapters, like it or not, it’s a part of life. Accepting change can be hard, but it is how we get to those new chapters, one day at a time.
There are a whole new set of adventures (and yes, most chapters will have some ups and downs) waiting for you.
Once one chapter ends, another one begins…
It’s true that endings aren’t always easy, but you will eventually stop flipping back to those previous chapters (but never forgetting) and start to become more excited about what is on the horizon.
Endings teach you to appreciate the present more, because you don’t always get to choose when a chapter in your book will come to a close.
The best thing about moving on to the next chapter is there is a new set of blank pages, ready to be filled!
“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life” – Green Day
Remember, You Got This!