What is it about facing endings, that jolts us into a reevaluation of the past and the future?
I have been talking to clients and colleagues about facing endings this week. Facing ending their career and moving on to retirement. Facing getting a divorce and ending their commitment to their marriage. Facing ending being a stay home mom due to all children moving to college. Facing closing a business that has not been fruitful, and so on…..
It does not matter if the ending of a phase of life is due to natural positive growth or it is due to a disruptive negative consequence, there is still a common process. Some resist the process and go through it with anxiety and agitation, while some go through it as an observation of what was and what is to become.
As I spoke with someone who is facing retirement, he shared reevaluating the vision of his future, the last 10-20 active years of his life. Completing his responsibilities and going around the world. He no longer needed to consider anyone else. He saw it as his right to move on and do what he wants to do, whether his wife wanted to join or not.
I spoke with a young woman who is getting a divorce. She shared the vision of herself as a powerful woman who wanted to be a great mother and reevaluated her fantasy about marriage and her criteria for decision-making prior to her first marriage.
Talking to a man who wanted to close his business after several years as he reevaluated his myths about having a business and what he learned that he can use in his life.
And the woman who although her wish for her children to be successful and launching from home is coming true is facing her identity as a mother ending while she has no idea who she is and who she will be. Sadness, fear, anxiety, and excitement are all being fully experienced.
The realization that all phases will end and new beginnings will be there, may allow us to move through the process with some finesse. Allowing the grief process to emerge and to be complete for any stage of life that is ending is a necessary step. A positive vision of what the future may hold will also call us forward toward actualizing the vision.
People who try to skip the grief process, distract or numb themselves through the process won’t get away from it, just prolong it. Grieving might be acknowledging and going through the sadness, valuing what it was, and saying goodbye with grace. Cherishing the value and the goodness that was brought into our life. The strength and the skill that was learned that can be utilized for the future. Completing and having the willingness to let go.
Most times the process of letting go and grieving can be side by side with the process of moving forward toward the vision of the next phase of life. Asking yourself, what is next for me? What is my passion? What is it that I have not done and always wanted to do? What is left for me to learn? What inspires me? Who do I intend to be?
Create a realistic vision for yourself. Collage about it and put it where you can constantly see it.
Change is inevitable, Growth is inescapable. Let go with grace. Move forward with excitement and finesse.
For more observational and methods to envision the future go to my book: “Life Reset – The Awareness Integration Path to the Life You Want”