One thing is for sure. We can count the number of days left in this calendar year. But one thing is uncertain: the number of days left in our lives. Maybe it is 14,000, or perhaps it is 14. As it turns out, the number doesn’t matter when we realize that now, today, is the time to begin our finish.
And will we end well?
Ending well is a beautiful practice for all areas of life. It’s letting our yeses be our yeses until the finish line. What have you said “yes” to in life? Where did you go all-in?
Some may have said yes to specific values. For example, if you embrace simplicity, then welcome opportunities to live into it despite the heightened commercialism of this season. Hone your focus on areas of life that could become more meaningful. Where are the opportunities to say YES to living simply and engaging deeply?
Maybe health was a value that you said YES to in your New Year’s Resolution eleven months ago. If so, then now is a great time to end well. Move around outside a bit. Drink lots of water. Mark out days of Sabbath where you might choose to read, bake, or take a nap. Plan and guard time for restoration.
How about relationships? Who are your “YESES” in this life? For those gems, in particular, remember not to sweat the small stuff.
Speaking of small stuff, some members of my tribe leave socks on the floor. I won’t mention them by name, but occasionally it drives me nuts. And sometimes, I let them know it drives me nuts. Come to think of it, my commentary on their socks probably drives THEM nuts. Yet this is the small stuff.
Love people deeply in spite of their sock habits. Relationships are both messy and beautiful like this.
And forgive. Forgiveness can bring freedom.
Although we often live under the assumption that tomorrow will look like today, we know that life can change in the blink of an eye. The kids will go off to college, the neighbors will move away, and jobs will end. “Till death do us part” will eventually happen because we are not scheduled to be on this planet permanently.
The winding down of a year is a reminder of the necessary endings in our lives. In our humanity and our culture, we often distance ourselves from the reality that finishes come. Yet awareness of the end can be a healthy thing. It helps us prioritize our yeses.
Now, let’s be clear. We don’t need to fear impermanence. Instead, we can reflect on it as a source of gratitude. As we live with a spirit of gratefulness, we tend to value more deeply that which is meaningful and precious to us. Things like socks become a non-issue when we hold them up in the light of impermanence because, within that light, we find grace. A lens of grace ignites opportunities to love deeper.
But here is the best part. As we finish well, we plant seeds that enable new life to grow. It’s like the acorns that fall from the oak. Suddenly, within the journey of ending well, we find new beginnings as the acorns sprout into trees.
May you finish well and, above all, may you encounter new life along the way.
About the Author: Jen Macnab is an avid reader, writer, and runner who recently resigned from a full-time career in higher education to pursue balance and simplicity. Jen launched Toward Thriving, LLC to support others on the journey toward best self.