There is a book called The Five Things We Cannot Change by David Richo. The author adeptly discusses five truths about being human, which are things we often struggle to accept. These five things are: (1) everything changes and ends, (2) things do not always go according to plan, (3) life is not always fair, (4) pain is a part of life, and (5) people are not loving and loyal all the time.
Let’s spend a minute pondering that first one: everything changes and ends. We can’t have a new beginning without an ending. The end of a job, an era, a relationship, a life, a year, a pandemic. It is a given that things never stay the same. In fact, this is a staple principle for happiness; accepting that tomorrow, or next month, or next year things won’t be exactly as they are today. We will be older, in a different place, wiser, in more pain or less pain. We just don’t know.
Think about it this way. We’ve all read a really good book or watched a really good series on Netflix that we just don’t want to have come to an end. There is that sense of loss and nostalgia as you close the back cover or watch the credits roll at the end of the last show. Then we have to remind ourselves that we wouldn’t love it so much if it just went on forever. It would lose its sense of novelty and would become mundane. Things are special precisely because they don’t last forever; they all come to some sort of an end.
Which also means there is always a new beginning. There is always the opportunity for something we can’t predict that might be better, or brilliantly different at least, than what we had before. If we are too busy staring at what ended, we fail to see the new beginning.
Everything changes and ends. When we try to keep it the same, we only find an unsettled sense of desperately trying to hold on to something we cannot control. When we find acceptance of endings and beginning, we find a sense of peace and joy that only comes when we accept that change is a part of everything.
Author: Holly Jedlicka, MSW, LISW-S