In 1998 Semisonic sang such a beautiful and poignant line: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” It was our last year of school at the time, and as far as my friends and I were concerned, the lyric may as well have been written exclusively for us. We danced to Closing Time, clinging to each other and swearing that the passing of the years wouldn’t change our friendship.
As someone who instinctively avoids change wherever possible, I’ve always felt hugely comforted by that lovely line. It conveniently pops into my mind and gives me strength whenever I’m facing down that thing we all hate: an ending. Tonight, on my little family’s last night in Switzerland, the beginning of our time here feels like only a moment ago. Now we are saying goodbye to our life here – for the time being at least – and I’m trying like crazy to keep sadness at an arm’s length and remember that although this particular beginning is ending, a new beginning is ahead.
Endings and beginnings… They come in all shapes and sizes in a life. Moving home, changing schools, a new job, friendships ebbing and flowing, relationships crashing to a halt or veering in a different direction, a new country, a new culture, a different life. From where I’m sitting now, the goodbyes said and the bags packed, this particular ending is weighing heavy on my heart. The trouble is, even when change doesn’t come as a surprise – even if one has been preparing for change for months – when you’re happy where you are, a change isn’t necessarily as good as a holiday. When you’re comfortable in your situation, change can come in the form of a disruption; an unwelcome intruder. If this is the case, the transitional phase that comes on its heels is always going to be a bit of a wrench.
So here I am, staring down the barrel of that transitional phase. I’ve said tearful goodbyes to the girlfriends who have become pivotal to my everyday existence, and the little friends Annabel has learned to walk and run and play with. I’ve walked the streets I’d fallen in love with for the last time. My daughters are snuffling softly in their sleep and tomorrow we will take them to a new life – new experiences to be had and memories to be made. New beginnings. Right now, as melancholy threatens, it feels like the best way to accept the ending of something that has been wonderful and lovely and good is to keep the faith that the next ending – however far down the line that may be – will be just as bittersweet.
Some other beginning is coming – and with it its own fresh surprises that have yet to reveal themselves.
I have no doubt that this will be the case. But tonight I’m going to spend just a little bit of time wallowing in the “ending”. In the ache of saying goodbye.
As for the new beginning – I will think about that tomorrow.
Open up the doors and let you out into the world…