When the End is the Beginning

africa Feb 26, 2020

As I admire the beautiful view of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, I write my final Remote Year blog.  I ask myself typical post-mortem questions like "what did I learn this year?", "what was my favorite experience?", "what did I accomplish?", and "did I do everything I wanted to do?".

Then, I remember my first Remote Year blog post from Lima, Peru in March 2019 in which I wrote that at the end of the year, I may or may not accomplish everything on my "to do" list but if I have integrity with the way I want to feel this year, then I will have been successful.  And those ways are: connected, energized, inspired, and loved/loving."

So, the new, more important question becomes, "In these past 12 months of living and working in 12 different countries, did I feel the way I wanted to feel?"

And the answer is a resounding YES.

I felt connected to nature more than I ever have with the incredible amount of mountains climbed, breath-taking sunsets watched, refreshing swims under waterfalls, and encounters with the most majestic animals I've ever seen.

I felt energized in my mind and body as I managed the physical, mental, and emotional challenges that constant geographical changes bring.  The more I prioritized self-care of exercise, sleep, gratitude, meditation, healthy eating, and dancing, the more energized I was to take on new experiences and situations.

I felt inspired by the lessons I learned from the countries and cultures in which I was immersed.  My learnings from both the people living in those diverse places and the people with whom I was traveling inspired my monthly blog posts.  Those blog posts became the basis for the book I started and completed writing while on Remote Year.

I felt loved/loving with a community of 30+ people that started out as strangers but with whom I quickly felt a strong sense of belonging. As well as with a special someone I met within that community.

Can I name one greatest moment, feeling, or experience?  To be honest, it happened before Remote Year started.  It happened when I decided to do this program in the first place.  It happened when I decided to prioritize growth over comfort.  It happened when I decided to design my life in a way that felt authentically me.  It happened when I became so clear on what I wanted, believed I could have it, committed to making it happen, and then let the universe do its magic.  And, sure enough, the stars aligned and guided me to Polaris.

Now that I think about the future of our tight-knit community, feel the nervous excitement of what's ahead, and wonder where everyone will end up, I'm reminded that I had these same feelings at my college graduation. 

Graduation ceremonies are typically called “commencement” ceremonies.  What's interesting about that is “to commence” means “to begin,” not "to end".

Some say that graduation is called commencement because it marks the beginning of students’ new professional lives out in the world.  Other sources say that back in the day, students entered university as an apprentice and at the end, commenced their careers as masters or professionals in their field.

So, while this incredible year-long experience with my remote year friends is coming to an end, something about it feels like a commencement - a beginning. 

This past year has given us the space, time, experiences, encouragement, and support to figure out what we want and need to live a life more authentically us.  We are more empowered with the knowledge, tools, and resources to guide us in creating happier and more fulfilling lives.

Now, in my last week on Remote Year, instead of commemorating the end of an incredible year, I want to celebrate the beginning of a new one!


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