Get your motor runnin’, Day 21: Endings are also beginnings


In case you hadn’t noticed, stuff is falling apart all around you.

In case you hadn’t noticed, it always has been.

Someone is always losing a job or hitting a wall or falling out of love. Someone else, somewhere else, is making something new out of what didn’t seem to exist before, an idea or a song or a business or a soccer ball (see above!) or, god bless ’em (and thanks for doing it so I don’t have to) a person.

I had a good, long talk with an interesting fellow I met at a networking event tonight. We met at this networking event because I arranged the event which he also came to and we wound up sitting next to each other.

But we also met because I quit my job some 16-odd years ago and drove across the country with a man who is now married to someone else, to write for a show that no longer exists, produced by an amazing crew of people who have scattered to the ends of the earth. Or at least the edges of a few continents.

We met because I got kicked out of the Groundlings, had my heart broken several times, had my insides blow up. In fact, if pressed, I would say that most of the goodness in my life today exists because my life as a Healthy Person ended just over six years ago.

Or, if you want to get mundane and granular about it, we met because each of us ended a conversation with someone else.

Stuff is always ending, all the time, all around us, whether we like it or not. And unless the stuff is us having our heads banged into a wall, we usually don’t. And it has to be some egregious banging. Because just a little banging, even that can become preferably to the idea of something else, something that might be worse banging. No, we’ll take this particular banging against this particular wall. It’s fine. It’s not even stucco.

Fear, fear, gimme a beer. How do I steer? Is help near?

We talked of fear, this fellow and I, and about how it stops people from doing what they’re meant to do next. (It’s key, that “next.” Because you’re always doing something, right? And you can waste a lot of time staying in something when you should be moving on to what’s next.) He wondered if there was something particular that kept people from doing the next thing, and really, most of the time, the only thing particular about it is the flavor of fear: fear of loss of identity, fear of loss of prestige, fear of failure and thus becoming a non-person (this is a BIG one for artists), fear of destitution. You get the idea. If you were playing along, you either recognized one of these or another popped up. Feel free to share it in the comments.

Because I’m here to tell you, you are free. That thing you want is gettable. Maybe not in the exact way you’re picturing it right now, but trust me, no matter how excellent a picturer you are, you cannot begin to imagine the multifarious ways the universe can imagine things. The universe will put your shit to shame.

Just go do the one thing. You know. The one thing that would move you one step closer. And then the next day, do one more thing. At some point, tell some people what you’re doing, slowly, carefully, because you want to make as sure as possible you’re going to get help, not hindrance.

Stuff is ending all around you. Your ability to recall things and your ability to eat whatever you want with impunity and your 40s, if you’re me. Something else if you’re you.

Let it end, and open your arms to embrace the magnificent next thing. You must do it for yourself. You must do it for the world.

The new year is not so new anymore. This 21-Day Saluteâ„¢ is over, too. And that’s a good thing.

Because without it ending, you’d never get to see what’s next…


Image by whiteafrican via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.


  1. Your words inspire and ground me – if that’s a word, grounding? Not the past tense of grind, you understand; they give me ground.

    Thank you for this 21-Day Salute. It was a pleasure reading. Looking forward to see what’s ‘next’.

  2. Funny how we get hooked on beginnings, or sticking with things. After I published a novel in the UK in the late 90s and got some amzaing reviews I thought: “This is the beginning.” As it turned out, it was the end of one period in my life and the beginning of another (or maybe a transition before the next bit).

    With hindsight I can see that letting go, learning to be a one (minor) hit wonder was good for me. I actually turned into a happier person. Albeit with a rag tag collection of basset hounds.

    In 1999 I wore expensive clothes, was written about in the newspaper, asked my opinion on things and given things for free. Result? I hated my life.

    2009 I wear cheaper clothes, concentrate on writing and have opinions on things but no one really wants to know. Result? I love my life.

    Maybe this is just the end of the beginning.

  3. A great person once said,”What amazing things would you do if you knew you could not fail”? Its the fear of failure that holds us back. I’ve just stared a blog and its really not going anywhere partly because I feel that with 108 million blogs out there, is mine going to make any difference at all. But like you said its important to try and things may fall into place or not. Either way, that ending may be the beginning of something else. Thank you for your thought provoking words.

  4. Nicolien – Thank you so much. I think this is the first time in my life that I or anything I’ve done has been described as “grounding”, so this really is the dawning of a new era.

    Jon – From my own experience, I think it’s about comparing what’s happening to what is “supposed to” where “supposed to” is dictated by societal norms. And it sounds like you and I have done equally well with societal norms. So “boo” to them and “yay” for cheap clothes and basset hounds.

    Nithya – Blog it! Go! Even if only YOU read your blog, blog it! As one who did just that, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

  5. Fear, not that easy to let go of but we can get past it. I’ll let you know when I’m there.

    You’re awesome C! I don’t like when good things end but I know you have great things ahead.


  6. All of this optimism is easier if there are residuals coming in.
    How do you cross to the other tower without a net?

  7. C, I love your writings around this topic (I’m more convinced than ever that you have an existentialist’s soul!). What’s up with all that clinging anyway? Why do we do it? Fear of the abyss…fear that there’s NOTHING next. As your own life reflects (and mine, and everyone I know), there’s never been nothing next. Something always comes along and, you remind me (and I can never hear this enough), that something can sometimes be wonderful. But I hear you emphasizing more the active stance–go GET that something. I like that.

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