For those of you who aren’t in the know about TV, last week was full of finales. How I Met Your Mother ended its nine-year run on Monday. Thursday was the last episode of the short-lived series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. And Friday night, we said goodbye to Raising Hope, probably the most self-aware comedy on television. I love all of these shows, so it was a bit of a rough week for me, having to say goodbye to so many favorites. But, as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
I am currently in a period of my life that includes a lot of “last times.” This is my last semester as an undergraduate. I recently came back from my last college Spring Break. I’m about to finish my last college paper, give my last presentation, and take my last round of final exams. Right now, my life feels like a series of mini-finales, and each one comes with a sudden realization that I’m never going to experience these things again. That’s a lot to handle.
As I’m experiencing all of these “last times,” I’ve decided to reflect on closure and what you’re supposed to do when you come to a place in your life that feels like an end. Here are a few things I’m trying to keep in mind.
1. Cherish the experiences… and learn from them.
The past four years have been wonderful. I am so thankful for the opportunities I’ve had, for the things I’ve learned, and for the people I’ve met along the way. All of those things have been so real, and they’ve contributed to who I am today. I’ll never forget my time at Hendrix College and what an impact it has had on my life.
And just like I can get on Netflix and re-live my favorite TV shows after they end, I can cherish the memories of my time at college. The fact that this time in my life is ending doesn’t change the fact that it happened, and it was great. I can always look back on these great times I’ve had and reminisce with friends about all the fun stuff that we did in college. I’ll cherish that forever.
I’ll also learn from these experiences. Now that this phase of my life is coming to a close, it’s the perfect time to look back and not only enjoy the memories, but also get something meaningful out of them that I can use in the future. I’ve changed a lot over the past four years, in some ways for the good and in some ways maybe not so much. I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would, and now is a good time to contemplate what I’ve learned so that I can apply it in the future and change even more for the better in my next phase of life.
2. Don’t get stuck in the past.
I’m an extremely nostalgic person. I’ve written about that before. So when I come to these points in my life where things are changing, I have a tendency to fight that change. I’m happy with the way my life has been lately, so why would I want it to change? College has been so great to me. Why not just stay forever?
But the truth is that change happens, and it’s for the good. There’s a reason this time in my life is ending. I’ve learned what I was supposed to learn as an undergraduate, and now it’s time to move on. If I don’t accept that, then I’ll hold myself back and keep myself from being able to enjoy the memories of my college years and what’s to come.
You can’t live in the past. The world keeps spinning whether we like it or not. But change isn’t a bad thing, and there’s no reason to fear it. Letting go of the past opens us up to wonderful new possibilities, and that’s what I find myself looking at right now.
3. Get excited about the future.
I truly believe that my best days are ahead of me. It’s not that my past hasn’t been great. I’m just very optimistic about the future and what God has in store for me at seminary and beyond. I hope I always live my life as if my best days are ahead, because I know that God has a bright future planned for me. And He has the same in store for you if you’re following Him.
The future offers unlimited possibilities. There are millions of different roads I can take, countless different ways my life could go. And they’re all exciting and interesting and hopeful. I can’t wait to see which way I end up going. It’s like a really awesome mystery that’s going to unfold right before my eyes in time.
Because every end is also a new beginning. My college years are drawing to a close, and the rest of my life is starting. How cool is that? If you’re like me and you’re experiencing a closing period in your life, then you’re also getting ready for something new. Let us cherish this time in our lives, but hold on to it with a loose grip, because it will soon be gone. The future is bright, and it’s just around the corner. Let’s make this new phase in our lives even better than the last.