By Dominic Ward
Beginnings—A New Chapter of Life
By Dominic Ward
“A new beginning” that's an evocative phrase, isn't it? It conjures up images of adventure; of starting a new chapter in life; of self-empowerment through proactive decision making.
The opportunities for a new beginning in life are abundant – even if we are not fully aware of them (or choose to ignore them). If we don't seize (or at least consider the merits of) each potential new beginning, then perhaps we're not giving ourselves the opportunity to even get started in life.
I recently embarked upon several new beginnings, the most noteworthy of which (at least from the perspective of breaking from social expectation) was my decision to abandon my legal career after 11 years. It is not an exaggeration to say that that decision has changed the direction of the rest of my life. However, the reason for that change of direction was because I had long felt that my life was travelling down the wrong path – a path that I never consciously chose but which had been thrust upon me. When the opportunity for a new beginning presented itself, I had no doubt that I had to at least give it a try. In 30, 40 or (if I'm lucky and still have possession of all my faculties) 50 years' time, I want to be able to look back on my life and feel satisfied that I seized opportunities for new adventures, and lived my life to the full in accordance with my priorities for what makes a meaningful life.
A new beginning in any part of your life – whether starting a new job or a new relationship; relocating to a new city or country; or assembling a new blog – can be inspiring and exciting, and almost inevitably evokes a range of emotions. It is full of hope and anticipation; of, perhaps, a fear of the unknown; and of a degree of mourning for what was left behind. But this, really, is what life should be all about: testing ourselves by facing up to new (and hopefully stimulating and rewarding) challenges. Each new beginning in life is almost certain to present a worthy new challenge of some sort or other.
By embarking upon a new beginning, we are obliged to reminisce (at least briefly) about what that “beginning” is replacing – as a new chapter of life commences, an earlier chapter inevitably closes. As Seneca (the Roman philosopher) is attributed with saying: “every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end”. That process of reminiscing is important (if sometimes emotionally difficult): it serves to remind us how fleeting life is, and of the importance of living a full and varied life.
Life is, in many ways, like a book: it is made up of a number of chapters; there's a beginning, a middle and an end; during the course of the story, we're likely to encounter a hero (or two) and, most likely, more than one villain; and, if it was a good book, we might hope to learn a few lessons, laugh, cry and increase our understanding of who we are or of the world around us.
When each of us comes to look back on the lives that we have led, how pivotal will those various new beginnings in our lives (whether embarked upon or ignored) prove to have been? Doubtless some new beginnings may have led to nowhere; others may have improved the quality of our lives (and even the lives of those around us) more than we could ever have foreseen at the time. However, one thing is for sure: taking the time to identify the opportunities in life to embark upon a new beginning is a valuable endeavour - each new beginning is the opportunity to write a new chapter of our lives; to experience a new adventure. Like any good book, life should be full of adventure.
D. Ward, 18 March 2010
Copyright © 2010, D. Ward. www.GiveMyLifeMeaning.com