As the school year comes to a close, I am reminded how the endings of our lives are also new beginnings. My son is finishing his 5th grade year and will be going off to middle school in the fall. He is thrilled to be moving to a new school and is fully embracing this exciting time in his life. But as his mom, a part of me is sad that he is growing up so fast. Because he is graduating from elementary school, it somehow feels like I’m saying good-bye to his childhood. Yet, this ending is also an incredible new beginning - one where he will discover many things about himself and continue to grow into the amazing man he will become. Watching his eager anticipation of this important transition in his life, I know he is ready, and that makes me very happy indeed.
Our lives are filled with uncertainties. That’s part of what makes them both interesting and challenging. Right now, our family is living proof of that. Currently, we are searching for a new home. It has been quite a process, and there have been several unexpected developments along the way, but we are trusting that all will work out in the end exactly as it is supposed to. But trusting is not always easy, especially when it involves the important things in our lives. That’s why it’s helpful to remember that we cannot prevent uncertainties and changes from happening to us. So, the ways we choose to respond to these uncertainties becomes very important. If we can trust in the process and learn to “go with the flow,” our lives become much less stressful.
As I think about my relationships with myself and those around me, I realize these relationships are influenced by many things. But one of the biggest influencers of these relationships is my own expectations as well as the expectations of others. Expectations are our beliefs about what might happen in the future. We use expectations because they help make our lives more predictable. We learn from our past experiences and then create expectations to help us predict how things will turn out. We expect things such as the sun setting every evening or our parents visiting every Thanksgiving. Expectations are present in every aspect of our lives, but the challenge comes when we try to fit our lives into our current expectations when perhaps there’s another way – a better way. This is especially true in regard to things that are out of our control.
With the vernal equinox right around the corner, many of us are anxious for the warmer days of spring. This is particularly true for those of us who just experienced the big winter snowstorm in the Northeast. We are ready to trade in the icy snow for some fresh green grass.
What is it about spring that makes many of us yearn for this season to begin? Spring ushers in a time of new beginnings, fertile soil, and tremendous growth. It is a time of great excitement and possibility. As the daylight returns, so does our hope for new beginnings in our lives.
Last week, my family and I headed up to the mountains of Vermont for some time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Here in New England, my children have an entire week off from school every February over Presidents’ Day, and my family looks forward to this break every year. After loading up our van, we drove three hours north with great anticipation. We settled into our room and immediately loved the remote location where we could see the majestic mountains and towering pine trees from our windows. We spent most of the week relaxing by the fireplace, playing games, and watching movies, but we didn’t spend the whole time indoors. With the unseasonably warm weather, we also played snow football, sledded down rolling hills, and hiked along wooded trails with many breathtaking views including the stunning Quechee Gorge. We had a wonderful time hanging out together, just the four of us.