Whew, by the skin of my teeth, it's January which means I can still get away with a beginning of the year post. I love beginnings. One of the best parts of my job is that I get at least two new "starts" a year. Every semester, I get the thrill of new students, a fresh chance to get everything right.
Inevitably, after a month, things stagnate, and most professors begin the semi-annual "Is it the end of the semester yet?" lament. Just hurry up and get here already so we can move on.
I suppose my love of beginnings is why I have the starts of four novels but have only completed two. It's fun to develop new characters and plots. It's less fun in the middle—where everything is more complicated and murky. I get bored. Then, I want to rush to get to the end, but I tend to be disappointed when it's over. I've been thinking what a common phenomenon this is. Think about how often we end up finding the end of the series to be the most disappointing—Star Wars, Godfather, Harry Potter, Hunger Games …
In each case, people waited with such anticipation for the end, only to wind up frustrated, disappointed, and even angry about the outcome.
And for the record, how can you not love this adorable furry creature?
Research on relationship suggests a similar pattern. We frolic in the emotional high of a new romantic partner or friendship, but once the relationship stabilizes, the thrill dissipates, sometimes leading us straight to that disappointing end again.This year, instead of a resolution, I have a goal. Whether it's a class, a relationship, a novel I'm reading or my own writing, I want to enjoy the middle more. Savor the stability. Not rush the end. Yes, parts of the middle are boring. And sometimes, the end comes too soon or takes too long. But there's so much good stuff in the middle, and I don't want to miss a minute of it.