With a new year almost upon us, I'm reminded of the lyric, "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."
Change is not the easiest path for me to take, so I'm a bit of a sap when it comes to endings. Whether it be sadly putting away my son's newborn clothing as he gets bigger, wiping away tears at the end of series finales of my beloved TV shows or surreally graduating college last Saturday, my emotions run high when tides start to shift.
It's much easier to stay within your comfort zone, to do what comes naturally and not branch out. Living a comfortable life seems to be the goal of most people - myself included - and much of the time, there's nothing wrong with that.
However, when things get stagnant, being risk-averse can be hazardous to your future self. Nobody wants to wake up in 20 years and wonder where their life has gone, or why they didn't just take a chance on something new. To quote the classic "Grumpy Old Men," "The only things in life you regret are the risks you don't take."
Taking risks are admittedly frightening, especially ones that could alter your life in significant ways. Failures tend to linger longer than successes, and nobody likes having to drag themselves off the mat after falling flat on their face.
However, even if a risk is unsuccessful, life's failures often end up playing a bigger role in making you who you are than its successes. It's all about pushing through adversity, and that makes the successes even sweeter.
There were so many times over the last two-and-a-half years when I was staring at homework at 3 a.m., wondering what I was doing with my life and how I would get through another packed day on two hours of sleep. Yet walking across the Tech stage and taking pictures in my cap and gown with my son made all those hardships worth it.
So for those fearing 2012 - or any good section of your life - ending, I'll leave you with the parting words of my favorite TV show.
"Endings are never easy; I always build them up so much in my head they can't possibly live up to my expectations, and I just end up disappointed. I'm not even sure why it matters to me so much how things end.
I guess it's because we all want to believe that what we do is very important, that people hang onto our every word, that they care what we think. The truth is: You should consider yourself lucky if you even occasionally get to make someone, anyone, feel a little better. After that, it's all about the people that you let into your life."
May you all have a blessed and wonderful 2013.
Zach Kukkonen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.