Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Well, my friend just frightened me. Chatting over text, she casually makes the comment, “I feel like I am somehow closing a chapter in my life and walking into a new one.” Um, yeah, that’s more than a casual conversational line. Then she asked me if I ever felt that way. To which, I replied “my life fell off of a cliff into a new chapter.”
Starting new chapters in life is not always bad. In fact, they almost always have the potential to be either good or bad, depending on how you approach them and what you choose to make of them, but they are almost always frightening. To close a chapter means something with which you are comfortable and familiar is about to end, and something foreign is ready to take over. How can this be anything but stressful?
How many chapters have I been through in my life? Frankly, I’m a little bit afraid to count at this point, but whether I was thrust into them or walked in voluntarily, I was always uncertain. Heck, I’m still unsteady in this latest chapter, still full of self-doubt. Every time, I’m leaving something I know, and although I’ve had so many successes and the strength to be successful every time previously, with each new chapter I’m just a little bit older, a little bit less certain, and always alone.
This is an advantage for my friend. She has friends, family (siblings, children, and even a husband), and is surrounded by so much love that I cannot imagine them letting her fail. I don’t really know what she meant when she made the statement, but whatever it is she is considering, I know she’ll have the support she needs to be successful, although, frankly, sometimes even that support can fail. The Greeks used to run around saying “call no man happy until he is dead.” This wasn’t a call for suicide, but rather based on the story of a man with several sons, all of whom failed to provide for him a proper burial which was oh so important to the culture at the time. Sure that he would be taken care of, it was shameful that none of them came through for him, so the saying basically means that you cannot say somebody is fortunate until it is seen how their family and friends come through for them. Or not. As the case may be.
I cannot imagine my friend’s support network letting her down. I have no idea what this new chapter is for her, but I know I’ll certainly be there for her as best I can. I have one friend starting a new business in direct sales (kind of like my Pampered Chef business) and yes, when she called me concerned about how poorly her business was doing, I made a purchase and passed the business information along for her. Another friend just threw a party for another direct sale business, and although she is not starting to sell for them, I did buy from them to help her at least reach the goals for her party. I guess this is the kind of guy that I am. I like to support my friends as best as I can, but I also recognize that not everybody is like me.
I remember in school taking a stress test every couple of years. It was compulsory for my school back then, and they would ask questions on things that they know tend to lead to high stress; new moves, deaths of friends and families, and the odd one for elementary school kids is starting a new career. No, no new career, I was an elementary school kid. Unless you count starting a new grade. But closing a chapter and starting a new one is definitely one of the greater stress inducers. Another friend left her husband and moved to a new state. That’s closing a chapter and starting a new one. I have a friend who was just accepted to graduate school and will be starting her studies soon. It might not feel so much like closing a chapter and starting another as she will still be with her husband and living in the same home, but yes, definitely starting a new chapter. And this friend?
Well, I don’t know what she meant. I’m hoping to speak with her soon (I’m a few days ahead in my posts to by now either I did or I didn’t) what she meant, but whatever it is, I wish her the best, and I will do everything in my power to be sure that, for her, it’s a wonderful new chapter.