Endings have always been extremely difficult for me. It started when I was little and attended a day camp, and I sobbed on the last day out of the fear of never seeing the people at the camp ever again. I didn’t even talk to most of them, but just the thought of the possibility that I may never see them again freaked me out for some reason. My mom convinced me that she had the list of everyone who attended the camp along with their phone numbers. This succeeded in calming me down and shutting me up and I never mentioned the list ever again. I imagine it was just the thought of knowing that if I wanted to, I could reach out to the people from the camp.
Another time, I attended a Traverse City Beach Bums baseball game up north, and I was playing with this sweet girl on the playground. We played for hours, and when the baseball game was over and we had to leave I started bawling my eyes out yet again. My mom convinced me once more that she had a list–this time of every single person at the baseball game. My gullible, 4-year old self believed her I never asked to see the list; it just made me feel better that I knew that she had it “just in case.”
More recently, different endings have brought me challenges, like graduating from middle school and leaving summer camp after almost eight weeks.
I really thought I hated middle school. It seemed to last an eternity. While I was there, I counted down the days for it to be over already. Then, all of a sudden, it was June of my eighth grade year. It began to hit me that I would be leaving the people in my grade, many that I had known since preschool, because I was starting private school in the fall. That thought was pretty hard for me to handle. I was so excited to attend my new school, but leaving people who I’d been with since kindergarten and pre-school made me feel extremely upset. This time, though, I had my own list (and it was real, not a lie!) and I knew I could contact any of my old friends at any time. I was still, however, very sad to say goodbye.
After days of crying over the ending of my five great years spent at West Hills, I began to look forward to my summer at camp. I went to camp for almost eight weeks this summer, and I had the most amazing time. I built upon and strengthened so many friendships and had some really incredible experiences that I don’t believe I could have experienced anywhere else. As the last few days approached, I was convinced that I felt ready to leave camp after being away from home for so long. Well, I woke up the morning that we were leaving, went into the dining hall, and I suddenly remembered that I only have one more summer as a camper after this one. At that point, I started sobbing uncontrollably and the tears wouldn’t stop until an hour into the bus ride. And they continued throughout my first week at home.
I’ve learned a couple of really important things through my experiences. One is to really appreciate the present moment. When I find myself wishing that something is over, I will try to remember that, no matter what, I will be sad when it’s over so I will try not to waste my time wanting to be done. I want to learn to appreciate the present.
The other thing I have learned is that with an ending comes a beginning. Middle school ended. Camp ended. Now, I am beginning high school. I miss my old friends and my camp friends and my great teachers and counselors, but I know I will make new friends and have new amazing teachers and mentors. So far, my first few days at my new school have been great. If I stayed at camp, if I stayed at my middle school, if I stayed at that baseball game, or if I stayed at that day camp, I wouldn’t have had even half of the amazing experiences I have had. I realize now that sometimes I have to let things go to allow new, wonderful blessings to come in.
So, high school, here I come! I am so excited to get involved and to learn and experience everything that high school has to offer. And I look forward to the future–to see what other beautiful beginnings will come from my bittersweet endings.
No fake lists needed.
Best of luck with all of your own endings and beginnings,