You know when you’re reading the first book in a series and you’re really, really excited to get to the last chapter so you can start the second book, but you’re also a little apprehensive because it means you’re that much closer to the end?
This week feels to me like the snail’s pace turning of that page just before the epilogue, and while part of me is straining to flip it! Flip it!!, another inside bit is scrambling to backtrack, re-read the chapters before, start all over again – anything to avoid having to close the back cover.
Chapters in our lives are as multitudinous and inescapable as they are unpredictable. We might be expecting a brief, ten-page foray into the world of post-secondary school, only to find ourselves riveted within one hundred pages of post-grad, and thesis, and doctorate. We may assume our current romantic entanglement will be one book in and of itself, only to find the next page a blank, all future installments suddenly erased.
Alright, the book metaphor has burned itself out.
I think most people are at least a touch afraid to face the next step in their lives – at least on those occasions where the Next Step is one clearly delineated by, say, a graduation or a resignation. But we have to remember that we’re always taking next steps, even when we aren’t dwelling on them.
Add to that the fact that everyone’s big next steps are different. To one person, moving in with their partner could be absolutely earth-shattering, while to another it could be the most natural progression in the world. One guy might start new jobs every six months and think nothing of his latest relocation, while the other suffers weeks of sleep deprivation leading up to the change. Our individual reactions to specific situations don’t alter the fact that life moves forward at some pace or other.
Sometimes those changes happen in quick succession, until that banging becomes a thudding tempo in our heads we’re absolutely desperate to quell. Bam! Finished classes. Bam! Start internship. Bam! Finish internship. Bam! Fly home. Bam! Drive to the other end of the country.
Bam! Hold up, before my hair starts turning white and my dreams become an indistinguishable mass of realizing I’m not wearing pants. It’s disconcerting, and unavoidable, and tantalizing, and exhilarating – all at once.
And I’m certainly counting down the days, and feeling my stomach knot at random moments. I’m definitely planning to eat whole bags of chips and find little opportunities to separate myself from the inevitable by getting lost in a novel or a tv show. Those are my ways of dealing, and while some of them are small works of escapism (Houdini I am not), they’re all normal and I’m accepting them as such.
So – deep breath in, because that’s all we can do. And deep breath out, because it’s not worth losing hair or sleep over. It’s just life.
Yeah, it’s coming on faster than Keanu driving city transit, but at least you’re alive.