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Beginnings and Endings

I don’t do well with endings. 

Yesterday, as I began my 2 day drive back home, I started feeling anxious for no reason–until I remembered that I always feel anxious at the end of a trip. I was so relaxed during my vacation that I forgot how stressful my life was. Even tennis, which I love more than anything, feels like a job that I have to get used to again. The emails, texts, and calls about team registrations, lineup changes, and board meetings began before I made it home.

I always obsess over the passage of time at the end of a trip. How quickly it seems to go. The things I fear about getting older and watching other people get older. The more I enjoy myself, the stronger this fear is.

The next time I see my niece, she won’t be 7 anymore. I asked her to stop getting older when she turned 5, but she didn’t listen. Of course, I enjoy her just as much now as I did then, but there is something sad about the parts of her that are left behind every time I see her. Interests that are no longer cool. I don’t really know how to put this feeling into words, although I’m sure there are some sentimental parents out there who know what I’m talking about.

I’m the same way with books that I love. I dread coming to the end of them because then I will have to say good-bye to this world and these characters whom I’ve grown fond of. Sure, you can read the book again, but it will never be like the first time, when you didn’t know what to expect.

I used to obsess so much about having to say good-bye that I couldn’t enjoy the time I had left with the person. Then, after they were gone, I would cut off my feelings for them so that I would not have to mourn their absence. Not on purpose, of course. In fact, it made me feel like some cold-hearted person. I think that’s why I’m so bad about keeping in touch. 

Today I had the realization that, while I was sad about the end of my vacation and the drive home, I also had a lot to look forward to. The beginning of summer. The start of new tennis leagues. More road trips–including one to see my niece again at the end of summer. In fact, I will be with her on her birthday, when she turns 8.

Perhaps instead of thinking of time as being linear, with clearly demarcated beginnings and endings, I can think of it as cyclical, like the seasons. That way, beginnings and endings are right next to each other. And while I may not be able to go back to a specific point in time again, whenever the cycle repeats itself, I can pay homage to that memory, and add another one to go with it.

And I can blog about it, which always seems to help.

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

8 responses »

  1. Christy,
    I too just returned from 2 weeks away (1 on business and 1 vacation). You are spot on as I have always noticed that I fret so much about the upcoming end of a trip that I tend to obscure the last days (whether it be with a person or a place) with growing gloom over having to go back to the real world. This time I tried to stay off my computer and actually spend time with my wife. Strangely, though I was nearly addicted to the computer (G+, FB, blogging, etc.) before leaving I can now barely stand the thought of touching it. I feel like I have broken an addiction. It is a weird feeling and I wonder if others experience the same? I think there is a blog post in there somewhere, for you or I, or both (likely plenty could be said about internet/computer addiction vs. family time). Thanks again for another post well done. D

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  2. Great post, you have mentioned some really good “thought provoking” points. I myself can relate to the points you have made 100% although for me they also relate to new beginnings…I seem ok with the bit inbetween when eventually (if ever) I manage to reach that point.
    Love Today!

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  3. Thanks Dave! I hope you do blog about it. It's nice to know other people feel the same way.

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  4. Thanks Tina! I have a similar post saved up for new beginnings, too! I'm not good with those, either.

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  5. Gained 3 pounds on that 5 day trip! So that was good that the trip wasn't any longer, or I might have gained even more. Gotta watch out for those breakfast buffets at Embassy Suites.

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  6. Yes. Eating has returned to normal. That's a plus. But I'm not getting 10,000 plus steps a day now, either.

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  7. Pingback: Turning Pain into Posts | Normal in Training

  8. Pingback: Beginnings and Endings, Part 2 | Normal in Training

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