I heard a quote recently that’s really stuck with me; it’s attributed to all kinds of sources, so I can’t say for sure who originally wrote it, but for our purposes, we only need the quote itself. Here it is:
“You can’t go back and change the beginning — but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
What hit me so deeply about this quote was the paradox of both tragedy and hope in one little line. Because isn’t it always so deeply frustrating when we want to change the past and can’t? If only I hadn’t answered that phone call, gotten in that car, written that email, said those words. If only I had answered that phone call, gotten in that car, written that email, said those words. If only I could just change one thing, then this whole story I’m in would be so much better!
We want to change the beginning. Strangely enough, despite the impossibility, that’s where our gut tends to urge us — if only. But when we let that ‘if only’ get hooked into our brain and take over our thoughts, the irony is it can prevent us from the change we actually can make.
Just because we can’t change the beginning, this quote reminds us, doesn’t mean all hope is lost. We can still change the ending — if we will only accept the beginning.
You can’t change the choices you did or didn’t make — or those your spouse did or didn’t make. But if you focus on where you are right now, and the path in front of you, you can change whatever feels inevitable right now.
You can change the ending.