A beginning, a middle, an end. These are essential components of nearly all of our experiences. The beginning exciting and invigorating. The middle often repetitive, even monotonous. The end bittersweet and nostalgic. This cycle, these three elements are what imbue every undertaking with meaning and purpose. Whether in education or business, recreation or occupation, at the personal level or at the national level, we function best when these elements are well defined. The repetitive nature many careers take. And the later years of contemplation and reflection before final goodbyes are said. We see this in trips, the excitement while packing and traveling, the rhythm of being away from home, before solemn farewells and departures. We see this over the course of lifetimes, the learning curve of being a child, a student, and a young member of the workforce. In the movie “In Time” where unending life can be bought for the right price one of the main characters observes that although the body can live forever, the mind cannot. We were made to have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
And there is a blessing in that. We understand poorly the process of aging, why the body breaks down, why even with the optimal lifestyle a hard ceiling to longevity exists. Likely within the next 50 years much of this mystery will be unraveled forcing us to ponder what we might do with an end postponed. Would we use our time differently? Invest in the planet and environment more? Harbor less ill will (grudges accumulated over centuries would certainly be oppressive)? Yet in our current state we must do what we can with the time we have. Making the most of our opportunities and our relationships.