In the beginning…
What does that phrase make you think about? The dawn of the universe? The first day of summer? The thrilling start of a new relationship? Those words make me think of sunrise, growth, and the innocence that comes with youth, fresh starts, and inexperience.
I love beginnings. I don’t think this love makes me unique. Beginnings are full of wonder and potential. Their newness gives them a purity that is uncommon in this world. Those of us who have searched for a “new beginning” believe they have the power to forgive a broken past. Most of us have experienced the joys of beginning of a new relationship, when everything is fresh and each moment is filled with anticipation. When parents look upon their newborn child, they bear witness to a purity reserved for the beginning of life. Few experiences cause the adrenaline to rush through our veins like knowing we are at the beginning of something special.
Beginnings offer delightful possibilities that are embodied by the joys of childhood. Children find fun and adventure around every corner. I have watched small children laugh hysterically at sneezes and become enraptured by Tupperware. We cheer children on simply for being alive. When they laugh, we cheer. When they stand, we cheer. When they walk, we cheer and tell everyone how wonderful they are. The world is never so dark when we begin to see it through the eyes of a child.
The opportunity to start afresh is one of the more appealing aspects of beginning a new phase of life. We all benefit from a clean slate because we have all made mistakes—we all have regrets. At the beginning of something new, we may not forget our past but our ties to it are loosened. A new city, job, or opportunity gives us a chance to reshape our present in a way that could have far reaching effects on our future. The chance at a better life has its roots in a new beginning.
A New Relationship
Beginnings are unsullied and thus they are mysterious and exciting. At the start of a new relationship, our hopes are high and it is easy to idealize our new partner and the relationship itself. The unknown can be thrilling and because of this getting to know a new boyfriend or girlfriend is intoxicating. Our minds swim in the experience of first dates and first kisses and our hearts are quick to fill with love.
Of course, no relationship ends up being perfect—they all have their trying moments—and in this sense beginnings are a magnificent illusion. The excitement of having a new boyfriend or girlfriend is caused, in part, by the lack of any history of disappointment in the relationship. Without any frame of reference for negativity, it is hard to imagine how an incredible, unbelievable, how-lucky-were-we-to-find-each-other, relationship could ever have trying times. The inevitability of troubling moments should not make us cynical about relationships (i.e., long-lasting, loving relationships aren’t uncommon), but it is that much more reason to enjoy those unspoiled first days with a new partner.
One of the sad things about beginnings is that we often don’t appreciate them until they are over. Somehow the passage of time repaints those periods in our life into our “Golden Days.” Teenage years when you couldn’t wait to get out of the house become cherished memories of simpler times. The days when you were broke and living in a run-down apartment become the opening chapters of young adulthood that you love to reread in the annals of your mind. Perspective changes things and allows us to appreciate stages of life in ways we could not when our focus was on speeding our way through them.
It’s Just the Start
Not every beginning is the hopeful, idyllic time that I’ve spent most of this blog writing about. Rough starts aren’t uncommon and for many, their early years of life, work, or a relationship are tough. No matter how difficult a beginning has been we can take comfort in knowing that it is a temporary stage. A beginning will become a middle, which will ultimately come to an end. If we learn from the trials we face in the beginning, we have a real opportunity to make it something better in the end.