My cousin’s graduation announcement arrived in my mailbox today. After the initial shock of seeing his senior picture (I remember him being born!), I started to think a little about new beginnings and expectations. That’s the idea, right?
While graduation is a clear example of the end of one thing and the beginning of something else, we are faced with these situations throughout our lives. It can be unsettling to be in a position where we have to say goodbye to what we’ve become comfortable with and hello to what we know little about.
There are certain expectations people have for us and that we have for ourselves. The longer we settle into a pattern, the less often we have these expectations. We tried this and it didn’t work out. We set a goal and achieved it. Now what’s next? Many times we forget to ask what’s next, and instead pat ourselves on the back for what we can and try and forget the failures.
I have been having some anxiety about this lately, as I am moving away from a city that has hosted a world of achievements and letdowns for me to a place I have never been. In the beginning, I assigned a negative emotion to this feeling. Anxiety in itself has a negative connotation.
Anxiety can be a good thing — a marker that our body and brain are still working. Of course we feel stress when we go through major change–it’s part of nature’s plan. Learning to deal with it and work through it is what separates us from the animals. We can move out of our comfort zone. We should. Habits and routine can be good to a point, but not if it’s keeping us from setting goals and moving forward.
I challenge all of us to look at the beginning and end points of things in our life. It doesn’t have to be as obvious as graduating, buying a house or changing jobs. It can be as simple as a new workout routine or a new friend. These things cause stress and anxiety at almost undetectable levels. They also create new expectations for us. If we can navigate our way through these, then certainly we can accomplish whatever it is we want in this life.