The Truth About Certain Beginnings...
I strongly believe that we live life on the waves of change. Sometimes the waves are barely perceptible swells, and sometimes they are gargantuan tsunami-like giants. Whether one is faced with the latter or the former, there is always a fundamental difference between changes that one can predict and prepare for, and changes that appear as if out of nowhere. So here we are:
The summer is over, even if someone forgot to tell the sun to wrap things up – we knew that would happen
The kids are back at school – we knew that would happen too
The routine of work is restored – we were actually looking forward to that one
It is a time of new beginnings and and renewed energy: a time when we get to reset the clock and start again. But do we really start over? While there are tangible milestones associated with this period, like dates and frameworks set by educational agencies, or perceptible shifts in meteorological patterns, in terms of us as adults, the milestones are not much more than internal or virtual. Which of us didn't continue in one way or another to keep abreast of our work? Which of us didn't catch ourself making a virtual or physical list of sorts of things we need to do once we were back? Which one of us didn't cross a work-related task or two off said list with a feeling of satisfaction? Even when we were on vacation, staycation or on a singular day trip, did we really restore ourselves to our factory default and wipe the hard drive clean?
We talk about new beginnings, but I fear that we don't really mean an actual beginning like a snake shedding skin or a caterpillar being reborn into a butterfly. What we mean is a mental switch that we turn off and then turn on again. We do this in order to fool ourselves into thinking that we have climbed to the next stage, or made significant progress, or simply gone through the motions of reassessing where we are as opposed to where we want to be, and how we plan to make this happen.
I don't think this is a bad thing. I think it is a normal thing. It is healthy and helpful to follow regular milestones – whether they be real, like the seasons – or perceived, like 'going back' to work after the summer. The secret about new beginnings is that they are seldom new and they seldom start from scratch. They are more like waves of change that started from a remote shore and picked you up as they continued to grow and swell. And you, you know what to do. If you accept the mission you fall in with the motion and move yourself forward both physically and mentally. You imagine that the wave is predestined: a vehicle designed to carry you onwards and upwards. You swim further and further, knowing that there is no time like to present. However, if you don't accept the mission, you are left flailing and treading water: hoping that you have enough strength to make it on your own to the horizon of your choice.
The truth about certain beginnings is that they started long before they reached you, and the decision to define them as beginnings is yours, and yours alone...