Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. – Seneca
What does that mean?
To me, this quote is all about the circle of life, and the circular nature of our lives. Things start, things end. The end of one thing leads to the beginning of another. This quote states it from the opposite view point, in which the beginning of a new thing comes from the completion of the prior thing.
Spring comes from the end of Winter. Sprouts come from the end of seeds. Harvests come from the end of plants. There are many ways to look at things in life, but for the Ancient Greeks and Romans, simple was often considered better. This quote is about as simple as it gets.
While we like to think of ourselves as more sophisticated, this simple way of looking at things still has some usefulness. Especially as a time limited person, I find it hard to start something new until I have finished with something else first. Does that make a little more sense?
Why is finishing important?
I’m not talking about what to do with the wood working project after all the sanding is completed. While that may also be finishing, I’m talking more about being done with something. Taking a project all the way to the conclusion. Finished.
It’s easy to start a project. Or a relationship. Or a painting. Or a drawing. Or just about anything else. Finishing tends to be quite a bit more difficult. Some of it is all the steps between starting and finishing. But usually, at least for me, it’s the interest, or the waning thereof.
When one project ends, there’s a bit of celebration and enthusiasm generated by the successful finishing of it. That tends to lead to a bit of optimism in starting the next project. With time, the glow fades, and the long hard slog begins, as you march towards the completion. Or you give up, which is a different kind of finished.
Where can I apply this in my life?
In my youth, I was a starter, not a finisher. I must have had hundreds of projects I started for every project I finished. Only the shortest or most interesting ever were finished. Pinewood Derby car? Finished! Two foot long model of a Viking Longboat? Still not finished.
Most of those projects were abandoned. I gave up a lot, finding the planning to be very interesting and the doing a bit dry and boring. I gave up far too often, and far too easily. However, each time a project was finished, whether by completion or by abandonment, it made room to start something else.
Which brings us back to the quote. While the end of some things are trivial, the end of other things are a bit more emotional, even painful. However, each ending brings about a new beginning. Even something as painful as the death of a parent brings the beginning of the next phase of your life.
As everything that is born eventually dies, so everything that is begun eventually is ended. There is an ebb and flow to life, and even to the things that are not alive. Some occur on scales so fast that they are almost impossible to measure (Higgs boson), while others occur on scales so slow, they have yet to complete (the life cycle of our star, Sol).
As an older star ended and provided the material necessary for our star and our solar system, so too will other things in our lives end, making room for the beginning of something new.
Think of your dating history. While some of you may have had multiple friends going at the same time, most of us (well, me at least) were lucky to have one. When one relationship ended, it made room for the beginning of the next.
Similarly, it wasn’t until after my relationship with my first wife ended that I began looking around to see what else might be available. My new beginning came from the end of my first marriage. My life took on a new beginning when my grandfather died. So it goes.
This post wasn’t meant to be macabre, but (unfortunately) some of my examples were. The point was that life changes, things begin, then eventually end. Look into your life for similar changes, similar cycles. Often times, these events are looked at as lines, not circles.
While I’m sure one could try, and probably easily find, exceptions to this quote, that’s not really the point. The point was to get you to look at your life from a slightly different point of view, even if only for a moment. And now this post is done. What new beginning awaits?
From: Twitter, @ohteenquotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/seneca405078.html
Photo by Andrew_D_Hurley
A note to the regular readers: A little over a year ago, I accidentally posted a Machiavelli quote on what had been Seneca’s day, and thus it became Machiavelli’s day. Having run through most of the more common quotes from Machiavelli, it’s time to go back to Seneca for a while. Feel free to go back through the archives of my work on Niccolò Machiavelli and enjoy to your heart’s content.
Five hundred years (and two days) ago, the Medici family discharged Machiavelli from their service. Today, I give him his walking papers as well. I have learned much from him, and found uses in the modern day outside the cut-throat realm of politics. It’s time to move on, to bring an end to one thing and begin something new.