Think of some books you’ve read recently. Some of them you may not have wanted to end and were really sad to turn that last page. Others, you may have thought they couldn’t end soon enough and getting through those particular books was a drag. The same is true for all the chapters in our life. We never want certain chapters to end (for me: high school and college). We wish we didn’t have to go through certain chapters (for me: horrible acne, letting go of a toxic friend). But all the chapters are purposeful to us and are necessary to continue on in our personal journey.
IN REAL LIFE (AKA, WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING IN DARLING D’S LIFE)
My boyfriend and I are about to move out of our first place together. We’ve lived here for eight months, outside of the United States, and it was an incredible experience. I’m very happy and proud to say living together has been a breeze. We created a good natural rhythm, have healthy communication practices (so we addressed issues when they needed to be raised) and after a long time of long-distance dating we really took advantage of being in the same space together. I have loved that part of this chapter.
We’ve also been out of country for my partner’s job. It has been incredibly challenging yet also rewarding. We leave in four days to head back to the US of A! And as excited as we are to get back, have the comforts of home and start the next chapter, it got me thinking about what to do when one story line ends, as this one is about to for us.
HOW TO CLOSE ONE CHAPTER AND WELCOME THE NEXT
Depending on the chapter – happy, sad, good, bad – you have different emotions. Is it possible to still be led by the same guideposts, even if your emotions are on opposite sides of the spectrum? In my experience, the answer is yes.
I have had some amazing chapters that I can spit back every single line/memory of. And I’ve had heinous experiences that could not end fast enough. But when I think about the best way to end any chapter, and what I’ve done through all of mine, it’s to follow the three steps below.
- Look back
What took place during this chapter? What are the good memories? What lessons did you learn? What will you miss? What are you glad to be leaving behind?
Give thanks. For all the good, AND all the bad – even though that part is tough. After many letdowns, heartbreaks, difficult lessons learned, I can say confidently that even though some experiences may be very negative, they are a part of the molding process into who you are at the end of that particular chapter, and they continue to be a part of what will shape you in the future.
- Look forward
What is to come? What are you excited about moving forward? How will you be better positioned for the future based on this recent chapter?
IN REAL LIFE (AGAIN)
I’m going to walk through this exercise using my current, personal example. As a way for you to see how to apply it in your own life, with your current chapter, a future chapter, or even revisit a past chapter you want some closure on.
- Look back. What took place for me/us?
We learned how to cohabitate. We experienced a new culture. We saw beautiful beaches. We lived more simply than we ever have. We budgeted for the first time together. We strengthened our communication. We learned how to emotionally support each other during hard times. We learned how to make something out of nothing. We made forever friends. We learned a lot of work lessons. I learned how to slow down. I learned to be comfortable being uncomfortable. We’re sad to leave our friends. We’re happy to leave behind a middle-of-nowhere location.
- Appreciate. What am I grateful for?
I am so thankful for the friend I made who made a HUGE difference in my quality of life. I’m grateful to have had a warm, sunny winter and spring. I appreciate learning how to handle inconveniences (like frequent power and water outages). I am thankful for the ways my partner and I took care of each other. I am grateful for my friends and family back home who continued our relationships like I was still there. I appreciate the beautiful water so much. I’m thankful for our grocery shopping date nights and cliff chasing along the water.
- Look forward. What is there to look forward to?
I can’t wait to see where my partner’s job takes us next. I look forward to the stress of moving, as well as being nomadic between both of our home states. I’m stoked for my partner’s next position. I look forward to continuing to build my own work success. I am excited to have access to all the healthy produce in the States! I look forward to the next big steps in our relationship. I can’t wait for another holiday season with my boo. I’m excited to meet new wives/girlfriends in my partner’s industry. Our learning experiences here have made us better as individuals, a couple, and have taught us how to appreciate what’s easy to take advantage of back home.
What chapters in your life have you recently finished? What doors have closed, and what new opportunities have come to you because of them? I love and believe in the concept of another door opening when one door closes. I am grateful for all the doors that came before today, whether I closed them, they were slammed in my face, or I stood longer than I should have in front of it. All of those doors, all of those chapters, have made me who I am today, which is a stronger, wiser, more confident and happier version of myself. When one door closes, it’s a chance to practice gratitude for all it was and wasn’t and prepare for the next thing that comes your way.