I am up at 36,000 feet, leaving Las Vegas en route to Chicago – after a very emotional and tiresome weekend. Which brings me to beginnings and endings. Each time I visit Las Vegas I am reminded of both. At one point Las Vegas was a new beginning, exciting, anticipatory, and scary. Twelve years later it was an ending, sad, melancholy, and bittersweet, but also as I moved onto something new it was exciting and new and fresh. I revisit these feelings every time I visit Vegas, still surrounded with amazing friends and ever evolving experiences.
This weekend, I helped my closest friend with an ending as she moved on to a new beginning. Her store, a passion project from the start, closed this weekend. For those who know me well, you’ll know exactly who this friend is and the store. I showed up Friday morning after a long commute, about 4 hours in flight time alone, and surprised her. She had no idea I was coming to help her, but how could I not be there for such an important occasion? I did throw her off track a bit… for the days leading up I avoiding speaking with her, I sent her a “sorry I can’t be there” gift basket and had a good friend beef up the story of how I regretfully could not make it. So, when I walked in, video recording all the while, there was no question shock would be her first reaction.
The remainder of the weekend included long hours, dust, dirt, grime, memories, friends, laughs, and tears. We worked well into the night and drove to her home together and laughed about the confusion and emotional reactions of others. We traded stories of what we experienced when the other was not in earshot. We planned for the next day and what we would hope to accomplish between the trash runs, donations, returns, and the many items that would secretly sneak past her husband into her garage for later enjoyment or the future potential projects that may or may not come to fruition.
My friend was leaving something behind to move on to her next chapter. An exciting and exhilarating chapter, but closing the doors to her passion project, her brainchild, her heartbeat for five years, was not easy. A natural packrat, it was hard to give things away and even harder to throw things away. Every item picked up with a quizzical look – “Can I make something out of this?”, “Who could use this?”, “Can I sneak this in the car when no one is looking?”.
As this blog is never just about a story, but a life lesson, here is my lesson that I was fondly reminded of this weekend: All endings are not associated with failure. This is such a hard life lesson. In so many ways, relationships, jobs, and arts and crafts stores, we feel like when we end something, whether or not deliberate, we must have failed in some way. This puts such a negative connotation on endings, but I see it differently. To start something new, sometimes we need to make space in our lives, somethings must end. It didn’t mean we necessarily failed or should feel guilty about the ending. And, its ok to feel sad when things end, because it’s hard to say goodbye. But, let’s not assume endings are directly related to failure, because oftentimes they have to be the thing to clear that empty space to let the new exciting stuff in.