Have you ever realized what happens when you start something new? You have so many high expectations for yourself, yet still harbor a mixture of excitement and fear since you don’t know what to expect. A lot of times, these feelings dissipate and you’re left with the event in its entirety, ultimately free to do everything to the best of your ability. However, these initial feelings of determination and perseverance usually only follow you through the start of your new adventure and are replaced by a complacent feeling of comfort. You no longer are scared of your where you are and what’s expected of you, therefore, you let your guard down and aren’t true to the determined individual you used to be. You don’t even realize it’s happening, but time and routine have conned you into a false sense of security. As the saying goes, “it’s not over until it’s over,” so if you really think about it, don’t you want to stay strong throughout the entirety of an event? Putting your big guns down and staying neutral through an experience may seem tempting, but in this world, staying tough and trying your best from start to finish is what differentiates yourself from the crowd. It’s the humble ones who stay upbeat and true to their own diligence that ultimately get the most out of a situation. If you don’t have the staying power to finish what you started with a bang, then aren’t you merely a mediocre version of yourself? The question is, what does time teach us about how we deal with the beginning, middle, and end of an experience?
When you’re in the middle of something that you’ve been doing for a while, the first instinct is to feel comfortable with the routine. You know where you’re going, who you’re dealing with, and you start feeling a bit bolder in how you approach the situation. Stuff you were uncomfortable about at the beginning falls into place and you feel that you can even mix it up a bit, adding your own touch to what once was a learning experience. For example, if you walk to the same job every morning, maybe you take a different route one day once you know the area better. At first, you were just learning where you were going, but now that the daily routine is in place, there’s room for diversity and change.
One instance of clockwork that’s amused me for weeks is how the woman at Starbucks knows my order by heart and makes it even before I get to the front of the line. It’s impossible to change up your routine at that point, but it’s a welcome example of how staying predictable for weeks can cause a rapport with someone you don’t know personally. Over time, it’s possible that something you never expected to feel so natural can become apart of your daily consciousness; and while I’d never seen Starbucks as a particularly friendly vendor, having this understanding with the cashier has changed how I feel about routine. I’ve always gone against having too much of a routine, taking spontaneity as something that was a right, not a privilege. It can get boring ordering the same meal every morning, yet in the end, I’ve savored this summer’s routines as warm memories of a comfortable environment. Being a suburban-bred at heart, the feeling of a steady routine in a bustling city had it dawn on me that time really can change attitudes. As humans, we can slip into a rhythm easily as long as we have the music to guide us. Time and routine are closely connected – you need time in order to adjust to a routine and feel comfortable in new avenues. Once the comfort-factor happens, it’s only a matter of time before you feel a sense of balance. From then on, it’s your inner resilience which determines how you stay on top of your stride.
Once you’ve almost surpassed the comfort stage, that’s when it usually dawns on you that it’s time to step it up. While there are those of us who never let their guard down, it’s very common to come up from a slump back to your full potential. Once the moment of clarity comes, that’s when the experience turns into a dwindling amount of time before the end. Nostalgia kicks in and stuff that used to be routine has turned into moments that should be cherished and remembered. The end of an event ends up becoming the beginning of reflection, which in turn teaches us the lessons that said experience has taught us. It depends on what this event was – a year of school, a job, a retreat, a time with friends or family – all of these have a beginning, middle, and end to the scenario that we eventually turn into a memory, good or bad, that’s attached to our lives forever. Isn’t it good to realize that while nothing lasts forever, the lessons and wisdom are what ends up being the important parts of our experiences?
Every time I’m nearing the end of an era, I always think of what’s happened, with fondness or deep-thought, trying to figure out what I’ve gained from the time I’ve had. I’ve always thought that everything happens for a reason – nothing in life is without meaning, whether it’s the start of an event or the finish line. We all are given lessons, no matter if we’re in the classroom or not and they’re always important. Sisters, go out into the world with the knowledge that everything has a purpose and that you just have to believe in what you’re doing in order to succeed. Never forget what you have learned from experience!