Maybe it’s because loyalty is one of my essential values. Maybe it feels like a form of surrender and I’m just never good at that. It could be that a final decision makes me nervous since I much prefer to keep my options open. Or perhaps it’s because I’d rather not clean up after myself. Maybe all of these and more contribute to the fact that I have a disastrous relationship with endings.

I’ve stayed in jobs, relationships, and idealistic dreams long after they needed to end. I’ve left books unfinished, drawers open, and conversations going on way past their usefulness. I’ll keep old shoes and receipts on the off chance I’ll need them some day, even if I know the likelihood of that is nearly zero.

Perhaps my relationship with endings is so lousy because I love the new, the unexplored, and the excitement of change. I am ready to rush ahead, for sure, so sometimes I just chicken out when it comes to tidying things up for a nice and friendly good-bye. But being a coward has gotten me into considerably more trouble than necessary.

What’s your relationship with endings? How are you with wrapping things up, with attending to the finishing touches without dragging them on indefinitely? How are you with cutting your losses and moving on or with saying good-bye to something you love because you know the time is right to do so? Are you faithful and noble in your leave takings? Or are you a chicken-hearted procrastinator like I tend to be?

I ask about your relationship with endings because coaching is all about making the changes we want in our lives so that we can get where we want to be. In order to move forward we have to quit looking back. We have to leave the familiar to explore the new. We have to develop some skill with endings so that we can embrace the beginnings that we yearn for whether that’s a new plan of action, way of life, or commitment. We have to mourn the loss of the old in order to celebrate the possibility of the new.

What’s an ending that you know in your bones it’s way past time for in this precious life of yours? And what’s the impact on your road ahead when you deny the truth of this? What would it take for you to look this scary ending in the face, say good-bye and perhaps good riddance to it, and move on?

Sooner or later and all kinds of times in between we’ll be forced to face the end of something meaningful in our lives. Take it from one who sucks at endings: the sooner you get better at them, the better for all involved.

I have tons of friends and clients who are wrestling with one of the big endings of our lives, that of retiring, so I’ve created a tele-class/group coaching for women to deepen and expand our conversations around this rite of passage: Women and Retirement, Crossing the Threshold. If you’d like to join us or just want to know more, get in touch with me. I’d love to hear from you. And please pass this on to your beloveds who might want to join us. If this is not yet one of your big transitions, then you have plenty of time to buff up your relationship with endings!

5 comments on “What’s your relationship with endings?

  1. I’m not sure how I am with endings, but I’ve gone through a lot of them in the past fourteen months, that’s for sure. I think your class/coaching group sounds fabulous and oh-so-needed. Exciting stuff!

  2. Great blog post, Chris! I always enjoy reading your perspective. You are a fantastically talented writer and personal life coach!

    • Thank you for this! It’s been a long time since I posted here so your words are sweet encouragement for me. I’m thrilled you found something meaningful in my words, Ameeth Singh. I wish you all the best.

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