As the close of the semester nears, we must be respectful of how people deal with endings. Loss does not always indicate a death has occurred — sometimes it can be the end of a school year, a friendship or a romantic relationship. All sorts of endings deserve the dignity of being mourned, in one way or another.
Some people are emotional beings. Endings are a highlight of that. There are those friends who cry at the ending of a particularly touching movie — myself included — or overly enjoy reminiscing on memories from the past academic year. It is at the core of who they are, and we are beyond the discourse that showing emotions makes someone weak or lacking in logic.
Endings can be overflowing with emotions or more subdued, but either way, an end is an end. They can be equally impactful — no matter if it is something as simple as moving out of your dorm room at the end of a semester.
Reactions to a school year ending are not indicative of an overwhelming love of academics, but they may show how much one enjoyed their friends and the atmosphere that school represents. Endings are hard to confront because they signify a close on so many memories and emotions.
Endings happen every day, and it is impossible to brush them under the rug. Switching jobs can leave an impact because it is the work, the people and the environment that create an emotional connection in one’s career. Oftentimes, an ending signifies a loss of routine, which for many people is jarring. Change and endings go hand-in-hand, and both are equally scary for a multitude of reasons.
Yuji Katsumata Winet, who co-authored a study published by the American Psychological Association, said endings tend to prompt people to think about what’s personally meaningful to them. When people sense loss, they immediately default to familiarity because it feels easier than trying to venture out with something or someone new.
The need for comfort makes sense because when something is over or lost, we try to fill that space with something soothing. It is a defense for us — turning inward to something we know, instead of living in the loss and the unknown.
The funny thing is that after one ending, there is another beginning. However, it is a fact that is hard to face because saying goodbye is hard. We would rather live in what’s familiar than venture out for new experiences, people or relationships. We often fear repeating and reliving certain endings. But, once we reach the point of drawing things out to avoid an inevitable ending, it can feel more devastating than if we were to accept the end.
We all process endings on our own timelines — some people are able to get through things and dive into the future, while others sit firmly in the moment of an ending. It can be hard to imagine moving on from something or someone, but it will eventually happen.
Endings are a necessary evil, and ultimately, they help us grow and enable us to appreciate what we have in life.
Humans are shaped by endings. Breakups might make us more understanding and compassionate and losing a friend reminds us how we value and cultivate future platonic relationships. These endings allow us to reminisce on the nostalgia of “what was,” while giving us the chance to create a better “what will be.”
The hypocrisy of all of this is that some endings never end — there can always be an emotional thread pulled which stems from the end of a friendship. In that way, they can seem impossible to overcome, but everything ends for a reason.