Row: Reflection on Beginnings
There are many beginnings in our lives. The first, of course, is our birth after which each new day is a ‘beginning’. Each day is a day never before experienced.
It is doubtful if many people think in those terms when the alarm clock nosily enters into their consciousness and all they want to do is roll over and forget what awaits them. How much better it would be if each day began with a feeling of gratitude because we were able to awaken. Most of us are not aware of the hundreds of thousands of people who do not awaken to experience a new beginning. They are either in a coma or have passed on to another dimension.
When we are very young children a new day might signify a day we get to do something special, receive something special or go someplace special. We have no concept of time. Then there finally comes that long awaited day – the first day of school. Such joy! And this was a true ‘beginning’. It was the beginning of formal education. For at least 12 years we blithely, joyously or grudging attend school but each year we can mark another ‘new beginning’ as we advance from one grade to another. We meet new friends and perhaps enter a different building as we forge ahead seldom, if ever, thinking about the marvels of a new beginning. As we approach that day we have dreamed of for years our concentration is on graduation, for some a day when the required formal education has finally come to an end.
Being older, and I figured a bit wiser than my soon to be graduate children, I gave my boys a short “pep talk” about the reality of the working world they were about to enter. At no time did I ever try to tell my children what career they should pursue or continuing education they should embark upon. I believe every child should have the right to choose what he or she feels is in his/her best interest. What I did tell them was that “today is your last day in high school and you are looked upon as “punks” (a descriptive term of the day), but the day after graduation the adults in the business world will expect you to dress and act like sensible young adults when you apply for work.”
But what is this that assaults our ears? If we want to succeed in life must we get a college or university education? Many of us planned for this for many years so selecting a university, often as far away from home as can be arranged, is what we have been waiting for. Now the idea of a new beginning takes root in our consciousness. We take a deep breath and declare that now we can begin to live. “I am my own boss. Nobody is going to tell me what to do, where I can’t go, and when I have to be home.” That is what we think until the reality of campus living is laid out before us. We may face this new beginning with eager anticipation or again measure our education by months or years until we finally reach a day of freedom from books, lectures, rules and regulations. A new beginning is out there and we must find it. I know that I have not painted a picture that fits everyone, not even my own four children, but it is close enough to show how we can, and do experience new “beginnings”.
Once we begin our life’s work we are bombarded with multiple ‘beginnings’. Some are planned and others pop up on our horizons of necessity. Every individual is different and consequently our needs and desires differ. For that reason I will just list the most common ‘beginnings’, the one’s most people become involved in without thinking of them as a ‘beginning’ in their lives.
Establish a home – rent or buy. Decide what city and state we will live in.
Begin a family. Register to vote.
Find the closest church and school. Select a doctor, dentist and eye care.
Buy a car. Locate the best and closest shopping facilities.
Now we find ourselves propelled into areas we have never had to consider because our parents took care of all those things. Guess what? They were ‘beginnings’ for our parents at some time in their lives. Now we can claim them for our own. We can choose the house we want to live in, the church we prefer to attend, and the health care that suits our needs. Did your parents prepare you for all these new ‘beginnings’? Did they explain about licenses and insurance, health records and bills that must be paid? All of these represent a ‘beginning’. Everything we undertake during our lifetime has its own ‘beginning’.
We make all our own choices. We select our friends and decide what we want to do for entertainment. In other words we choose our own beginnings. Usually!
A few days ago I attended an after church program known as, “The Path to Wealth”. The program is based on a series of steps one can employ to direct them in a more spiritual manner to face life’s trials and tribulations or realize a particular desire. Wealth does not necessarily mean, money. One of the members, who had a stroke a little more than two years ago, said she is angry because she had a stroke and can’t do the things she did before. Her reaction is not unusual and is similar to the reaction of anyone who experiences a great loss of any kind. The person generally goes through grief, denial, anger and/or resentment before reaching the ‘beginning’ of acceptance. Such a tragic, sudden change in a person’s life requires tremendous effort, physically, mentally and spiritually to be able to face this totally ‘new beginning’ in his/her life. Other situations such as an accident that paralyzes or robs one of a limb, a debilitating disease or the sudden loss of a home due to flood or fire, all result in the necessity of having to face a new beginning.
Beginnings can be anticipated, joyous and fulfilling, or they can be devastating, painful, and humiliating. No matter how one is affected he or she can choose how to respond, and others choose how to respond to them. Helen Keller showed how everyone could benefit when she said; “The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.” Namaste.
-Rowena Nichols, Columnist ‘Row’
Rowena Nichols, RN, Dr. MMT, PTA. Registered Nurse with BS in Nursing, Dr. of Medical Massage Therapy, and Physical Therapy Assistant(Certification). Beyond the use of her mass credentials, she has had a “full and rewarding life,” including living and teaching in Chile and returning to nursing at age 80. Currently, she is writing articles for several Newsletters and magazines, including problem solving for tutors of English at a Literacy organization in New Mexico. She recently celebrated a book release, Wired for Changes: My Recovery from a Stroke. Send your request and a bank check or money order for $10.95 to; Rowena Nichols, P.O. Box 65552, Albuquerque, NM 87193. Shipping is included.
Painting by: Brianna Gosselin