It's the last day of school around here. I didn't have to drag the kids out of bed this morning, no crankiness or moodiness at the bathroom sink, they were singing and happy all through breakfast, practically bouncing through the chants of "Last Day of School! Last Day of School!" with mouths full of pancake syrup, gummi vitamins, and juice.
And since I'm in the mindset of writing the last two chapters of my WIP, swimming in the luxurious almost-doneness of it, knowing how it all works out, it hit me: endings are a lot easier than beginnings! And now I know why.
Like the past school year and other works-in-progress, we who have undergone the journey have endured the struggles, the hard work, the unknowns, and came out the other side, triumphant. Things we had to do weren't fair and they were hard and we had to change something inside ourselves to adjust and it wasn't always the way we wanted it to go, but that was in the past--in retrospect, we became better for having gone through it, found out more about our friends and ourselves and what we're capable of beyond what we thought we already knew. We learned. We grew. And now, looking back, we can see how we're better for having enjoyed a good story and a good year. We'll look back on this and remember the highlights, looking forward to the next step along the way. This last, little bit is just the icing on the cake.
The First Day (like the First Page) is always exciting and new, but because we don't know what we're getting into, and we don't know exactly where we're going, there's a little bit of fear and anxiety, a little bit of "I Don't Know What the Heck I'm Doing!" that is fun in its stumbling recklessness, but far from our comfortable ordinary days. Surprises are adventurous, but also scary, and while we can try to anticipate the unexpected, we know that--by definition--we can't. Only when we've passed the test, done the deed, risen to the challenge and made it out again can we look back and see how far we've come, what we've accomplished, and how our story has shaped itself. As Alanis would say, the only way out is through.
My kids are living up their Last Day, beaming and smiling and laughing over boxes of teachers' gifts and worn, saggy backpacks filled with barely more than extra-special lunch treats. I get to enjoy it, too, without the strain of prodding kids awake or nagging about missing homework; we all know how this goes and we're enjoying the very end because it is the end. We're savoring the last dregs.
I'll feel the same when I sit down to the keyboard later to write. For me, endings are easy, it's beginnings that are hard. (But I'm still looking forward to the next project!)
So, at the end of the week, I'm asking: What's easier for you to write, beginnings or endings?