“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
All my 90’s music lovers are really confused right now because they believe I am quoting Semisonic’s Closing Time; however, before this line was a catchy lyric, it was an idea in the head of the philosopher Seneca.
And while I am no philosopher: I do want to lean on an idea of the stoics. I believe their views on life can certainly help us in our current situation. (COVID-19 outbreak) Many of us are starting to experience the end of things—the end of a job, the end of a job description, the end of a time in our lives, the end of a way, the end of _________. The beautiful thing is that all beginnings are birthed, like a phoenix, from the ashes of an ending. Yet, the endings still hurt. And this is where I want to borrow a model of a stoics.
Marcus Aurelius was one of the most well-known stoics. His book, Meditations, is rather brilliant. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
A summation of one of his ideas is: you are tougher than you think. I know this phrase doesn’t blow any minds. No one is going to walk away from that phrase and go: “You know, I never thought of that.” But, here is my position—what you believe is your breaking point is probably only your first glimpse into what is possible. Let me say that again. What you believe is your breaking point is probably only your first glimpse into what is possible. In other words: we often exaggerate the tough times and, in doing so, minimize it’s teaching objectives. Two points here:
If I am tougher than I think then:
- Learn in these moments and find your actual tensile strength.
- Lean into these moments because you CAN and WILL grow. (notice I didn’t say win)
Back to Seneca: every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end. Endings hurt. And we just realized we are tougher than we think. Which in turn means we can handle it. Which also means we grow stronger from it.
I won’t overcomplicate this with more words. Just the truth: we are tougher than we think, and every ending is an opportunity for life.