This Is the Way the World Ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but with a whimper. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about endings lately. I don’t think I deal with them very well. I refused to watch the last episode of what was my favorite show for a long time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for YEARS because I didn’t want it to really be done. Once I watched the final episode, the mystery would be over. There’d be no more. The last chapter would be written. (For the record, I did the same thing with The OC.)

That’s easy enough to control. But real-life endings, sadly, are much harder to manage—and to predict. Sometimes they come out of nowhere, swirl into your life and rip it to pieces like an F5 tornado. And sometimes they sneak up on you, gradually and quietly, so that things the way you knew them are over before you even realize what’s happening. As someone who has, for my entire life, refused to do things until I’m absolutely sure I’m beyond ready, I find it totally disturbing and disorienting. And, more often than not, crushing.

But the older I get, the more I realize I can’t control everything. As terrifying as it might be to have to accept that sometimes my life will reorder itself without my consent or desire, it does nobody any good to agonize over what used to be. So I’m trying to teach myself to look at endings not as a door slamming shut in my face but rather an opportunity to head out into the hallway to check out all the other rooms I could visit. That’s a hackneyed metaphor, but you get my drift. Not that I want to be completely passive about the directions my life heads in. Another thing about getting older that’s not so bad is that I’m starting to learn more about myself and be comfortable with who I am. Lately I’ve been getting this feeling—randomly, fleetingly, but strongly—that there’s this core inside of me that’s solid and untouchable and completely mine. And no matter what city I live in or what job or relationship I have, that core is always going to be there. I am still going to be me. And I’m going to be okay.

And if the price for that knowledge is a few little wrinkles around my eyes, I will gladly pay it.

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