Life is like a book. There are ups and downs, smiles and frowns, and chapters abound. Along maneuvering through the path of life, we open and close many chapters.
Perhaps the most exhilarating of any chapter is a new one. In life, much like in a book, turning the first crisp page in a chapter brings with it excitement and a vision for what could be. The more pages we turn, the more the story unravels and reveals itself, and the same goes for life. The more experiences we go through in this lifetime, the more we find out about our story and subsequently impact the story of others.
When’s the last time you began a new chapter? Did you start a new job, purchase a new pet, or gain a new friend? Because those are all considered new chapters. What might be most intriguing about new chapters is that we as humans love to start them. Yet, we don’t always finish them. Sometimes, it’s due to a lack of foresight and understanding.
Let’s say you purchase a new pet. Did you consider everything that came with that decision? You know, the responsibility of being a pet parent, because that’s what you are, a parent to a pet. You took on that duty when you bought it, and past the absolute cuteness and adoration you may have for a puppy or kitten lies two qualities for being a solid pet parent, rationale and understanding.
Firstly, what was your reasoning for getting a pet? You feeling lonely on one Saturday afternoon isn’t the answer. What about your understanding of what it means to be a pet parent? Did you think every day was going to be filled with cuddles and rainbows? If you did, you quickly found out there’s more to being a pet parent than that. You have to look after and raise this animal. Raise it to become house-trained, get it used to a schedule, make sure it doesn’t scratch the carpet, and so on. The point here is, before we start a new chapter, we must think the choice through to the best of our abilities and imagine what life would be like, including pros and cons, if our new chapter came into fruition.
Typically the most difficult of all chapters is the one you’re currently closing. Maybe you’re closing the chapter on a friendship or pastime. Let’s take the latter, for example. When you enter your 30’s or 40’s, you start to realize you’ve peaked in terms of your physical capabilities. Some of us who haven’t reached those ages already feel like this. Of course, there is always an exception. Humans are astonishing, and it seems every day a record is broken for the oldest individual to do something. Some people are in better shape at 50 than they ever were at 20. But generally speaking, almost all of us peak in our mid to late 20’s. For those who relished in competition growing up, such as myself, that realization can be a tough pill to swallow.
If you loved playing sports growing up, particularly one that requires physical prowess, like basketball, you understand this. Over time, your body’s abilities, such as speed, quickness, strength, and agility, will decrease, and with it, go some of the most critical elements that made you exceptional at what sport you fancied in the first place. Often, an issue people face in sports or other areas of life is it’s where they created their identities. Many people feel lost without their favorite pastime, but we’re not built to do one thing forever. Humans can and have made tremendous changes in their lives. The same pastime you love could be what’s holding you back from your next chapter because you’re afraid to close this one.
Don’t get me wrong, closing a chapter isn’t easy. Most of the time, it’s an arduous process. But it’s one that’s needed in this lifetime. I like to look at it like this; eventually, if you don’t close the chapter, the chapter will close you. I don’t want to be defined by the decisions I didn’t make but rather the ones I did. There comes the point when you recognize and realize the chapter for what it was and is. It’s enlightening because you ultimately gain a greater perspective on the matter.
For example, you can be forever grateful to a sport that helped you get through extremely harsh circumstances and still close the chapter on the said sport when it’s time to move on. You may be at a place in your life when it’s time to watch the sunset on one chapter and rise on another, and doing so doesn’t mean you have to forget the old chapters that got you to this point.
People often believe when they close a chapter, it’s gone forever. Why does it have to be? Is there some rule that makes it so? No, there isn’t. When you haven’t read your book lately due to a hectic schedule, what do you do? You go back and read past chapters. How come? Well, it helps you jog your memory and understand what you’ve read so far. In the same way, your past chapters become a cemented part of your legacy and who you are, at least, if you want them to.
Of course, some chapters make us who we are and remain despite our best efforts to alter them. But for the ones you don’t care to mention in your story anymore, rip them out. By keeping them, you’re doing yourself a disservice when there could be a better, more productive chapter in its place.
“Craft your story in such a way where you are the author, not a character in someone else’s narrative.”
Think things through before you start a new chapter, don’t be so apprehensive when taking a leap of faith to close an old one, reminisce on the chapters worth remembering, and look forward to the ones you’ll create.