Take a moment to reflect and appreciate, and then move on…

June 3, 2022

A quote that I kept from the Jack’s Winning Words blog seemed to resonate this morning – “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy, for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves.”  (Anatole France)

Anyone who has ever changed jobs, had a friend move away or lost a loved one understands the feeling of melancholy that France refers to. It is the loss of relationships, in lobs or other areas of life that are changing that usually causes those feelings. We don’t necessarily miss the actual job so much as the people with whom we have worked. There is a comfort in seeing the same people day after day and sharing the good and bad of the situation with them. One doesn’t commiserate or celebrate by themselves.

The feelings of melancholy can be especially strong if the thing coming to an end or changing is something that we are heavily invested in emotionally. The failure of a company (and thus the job) that we might have fought valiantly to make successful is an example. Another is the closing of a play or theater production in which we had a role. When one has been pouring their heart and soul into an activity for a while (no matter how short the time) and it ends, one cannot help but be melancholy.

But life is fully of these moments. One might even say that life is made up of a series of these moments. It is critical to one’s mental health that they be able to accept these events, find a place for them in their memories and move on. Being able to reflect on the time and emotional intensity that you committed to the events or people involved is important.  One needs to sort out the proper place in their memories for those events and people and then accept that those moments and relationships are in the past. You might maintain contact with your old co-workers, but the relationships will never be the same as it was and that’s OK; that’s life.

walking man

If there are lessons to be learned from the time that you spent, tuck those away for future use, too. For, while we leave behind a part of ourselves in those memories, they also helped us grow and become the person who now faces the future. There will be new friends to make, new job and life challenges to meet and new things to which to devote yourself. Perhaps you will stop and fondly remember someone from the past who taught you a life lesson that you are now applying in your new situation. That will not be a melancholy moment so much as a moment of joyful recollection and appreciation. Savor those moments and move on.

The only constant in life is change. The better we can accept change, deal with change, and use change to grow, the better our lives will be. Yes, the play is over, the old job is gone, an old relationship has ended; but you are still here. There will be new plays. There will be new jobs. There will always be new people to meet and new relationships to form. Take a moment to reflect and appreciate what was and then move on with the here and now.

Don’t get stuck in the melancholy of the past, there are too many exciting things and people ahead today.