Last night, as my happy, last-weekend-of-February was winding down, I could feel those bummer Sunday blues creeping in. Recurring thoughts of the list of un-dones, and a tiny hangover were all nudging me toward blue meanie oblivion. The full moon was getting ready to rise, so in the face of left knee pain and food and drink overindulgence begging me to stay on the couch, I decided to go for a run at about 7:45PM.
I am usually very aware of days and dates as well as any significance these days and dates have had in the history of my life. Since it was the last day in the month of February 2010, never to happen again, my run-brain honed right in on the philosophical nature of the passage of time and started pulling out all sorts of goodies for my voices to chat about over the din of the Brandenburg concertos. I needed classical as the soundtrack; I knew it was going to be one of those kinds of runs.
A theme that keeps coming up for me lately is the idea that all endings are beginnings. Yes, it was February 28th, officially ending the month of February (except on a leap year of course) and signaling the beginning of March. And as a December 1st baby, I pay attention to the last days of most months, waiting to make sure everyone flips their calendar to properly display the first day of each month on time, not as an afterthought. March 1st also represents the end of my year’s First Quarter and beginning of the second. I work in a field of constant deadlines and quarterly reports, quantitatives measuring the qualitatives. While I respect hard data and evidence, I always rely on my emotional calendar to signal endings and beginnings. This system may not be based on hard science, but with every day, week, month and year that passes, it might as well be the Atomic Clock.
There was a time I used to think that endings were more meaningful than beginnings because endings were more often emotional occasions: graduations, the last day at a job, going home from vacation, a funeral, a break-up. Each time something came to its conclusion whether I was ready to accept it or not, I found myself welled-up, instantly nostalgic and wanting to pull back hard on the reigns of time. There is a moment at each of my endings where I value the perfection of the experience of that teacher, that boss, that place, or that loved one, and the reaction is to stay right there and never change a thing. Almost as quickly as that synchronicity arrives, it passes and the undeniable reality of moving forward takes over. That used to piss me off and so I would spend much time in limbo, or as Dr. Seuss tells us, “the waiting place.” Boy do I hate the waiting place.
It has taken me awhile to figure out that a beginning was just on the other side of every ending, and it was totally up to me how long I wanted to stay trying to recreate the experience that was now over. My excellent selective memory could leave out all the struggle or drama or pain, but that just extended my time in limbo-land. As I was running along last night, I tried to remember if there was a specific shift when I started to let go of my intense desire to control endings, and to embrace beginnings, but it did not come. What did was a rush of memories and these very clear symbols of the balance of the endings and beginnings.
The Brandenburgs brought me back to Brazil, on location for work. I listened to them most mornings as the sun was rising, putting actors on the boats and then 12 hours later meeting them back at the same dock under different light and likely with a different musical selection to close the days.
Thoughts of February brought up the Winter Olympics, this one just ending last night, and memories of watching many before and where and who I was then. Also that I went from single to coupled and then married to separated in two different Februarys, but to the same man.
I thought of the relentless moon rises and sun rises and sun sets, but that every time I stop to notice them, they always reward me with their ability to put me into the present moment. The moon was so bright last night, I followed my shadow on my run.
I thought of my friend Jake, who late one February night, went home and did not stay to join us on March 1st or any other day ever again. I thought of all my friends who knew and loved him and how even though his body is not here, his spirit is, and we all love him and each other in spite of his absence.
I thought of running. When did I become a runner? I thought of the races I have started and finished and that I have another one coming up in April. And the best part: running finally made me a writer.
And so I got home, andrenalized, calmer, and proud that I went especially because I was so cranky and tired at the beginning. It was also a victory to finally honor my detachment from the romanticized emotion of endings. This doesn’t mean I don’t feel nostalgic or sad or in some cases, heartbroken, but now I know for sure it also signals a beginning. A new adventure, a new outlook, a new opportunity to put lessons learned to work. I think life will always give us the chance to start over. We just need to be brave, have some faith and after every end we will get a new beginning.
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