By Wendy Maitland
2017 has been a year of grit, grind and growth for me, professionally and personally. Its conclusion is a highly personal crescendo. There have been many painful turning points along my path to rebuilding a thriving career that once flowed freely, seemingly without a hitch. Sometimes the stars align that way. At other times, they align to create hurdles, challenging a person to learn and become a fluent problem solver at each hairpin turn on the road.
This past year has been the latter for me. I’ve never had obstacles fly in my face at such a pace in my life before. To the people who have been a part of the positive process of meeting, resolving and surpassing the challenges, I thank you. I’m grateful (much as I hate the overuse of the word as of late).
It is said that we are not given more than we can handle in life. You can’t say “hello” to the new before saying “goodbye” to that which must be left behind. Personally, I believe that the height of my learning curve this year was bestowed upon me to intricately grow me in the places that I was stuck. As we close the year, I am smarter, deeper, broader, stronger and more adept than I was at the beginning of the year, perhaps in preparation for a larger purpose. Bonus: I’m also thinner and healthier without having consciously tried to be either. I always think that means something fresh, new and good is emerging.
Due to personal circumstances, never has the prescience been more significant of something one of my favorite writers of all time, Ralph Waldo Emerson, spoke of when he said “the great majority of men are bundles of beginnings”. I’ve had the privilege to spend significant time this year with my mother, about to turn 90, and with my nephew, just a year and a half old, learning from each. Watching my mother let go of always being in charge (with great difficulty) has been poignantly painful and funny at once. She has bestowed wisdom upon me that cannot be garnered through anything other than first-hand experience. In observing my nephew simultaneously, I’ve re-learned how to embrace the world from fresh eyes, with an open heart, which we can look through the lens of at any point in life, if we choose to. After all, the child who we each once were is who we now are, at a later stage, still and always. How exciting is it to think that, regardless of our age or stage, we are each a bundle of beginnings?
As we approach a fresh new year, I gravitate toward reflection on new beginnings. In order to open our minds and hearts to new beginnings we must integrate endings because "every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end,” (Seneca). To that end, I’ve curated six of what I consider to be the best quotes on endings and beginnings.
“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”
"It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn't matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over."- Paulo Coelho
"Ends are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. And there are many things that don't really end, anyway, they just begin again in a new way. Ends are not bad and many ends aren't really an ending; some things are never-ending."-C. JoyBell C.
"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” —Mary Pickford
“Every moment is a fresh beginning.” —T.S. Eliot
“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” —J.P. Morgan
It’s time to think. Thinking is the process of generating an original idea or distinction. It requires energy and focus, while having an opinion requires neither. Instead of deciding whether or not you like something, ask yourself, “Where’s the meaning in this for me?” Identify the things that are worth something to you, and then apply the power of your thought to it.
Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. These life experiences broaden one's perspective. As you navigate your journey, identify what makes you different, which may bring forth aspects of the truth of you that once were left behind. There is beauty that is only seen through the vision of the child behind your eyes. Reflect in the context of who you are and who the people you care about are. One can’t be wholly selfish or other-oriented. The truth is that you need to be both. It’s not an either-or. This, my friend, is evolution.
Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect. And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.
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