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SPENCER: When good things end

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Change can be hard. Change when you don’t want something to be over, can be even harder.

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This past weekend, my Mumzy and I put on our purple and gold Laurier University clothing, left town early to get good seats, and headed to my son’s OUA university playoff game.

Our boy has been playing for Laurier for the last five years. In fact, his football journey started about a decade ago. At the start of high school, it was clear he was a natural football player. I still remember being at a game when he was in Grade 10. It was a big game under the lights and one of my son’s teachers said to me, “He could play OUA (Ontario university athletics), he could go far with this.”

He did just that. He went on to be the captain of the high school varsity team as well as the MVP. He tried out and competed for the province, travelled to Texas and they beat Team USA. He won awards when he played for the London Thunderbirds Football club. Then the universities started contacting him.

For the last five years, he was a team player for Wilfrid Laurier University. When I say team player, I mean he did whatever they needed of him. He played linebacker, defensive end, running back and tight end. In his fourth year they needed a long snapper, so he stepped up. He didn’t love it, but he stepped up and did his best, which earned him an MVP spot for his first game playing this position.

But it was more that a game. It was community. It was a family. He has gained lifelong friends and grew as a young man leaps and bounds because of the ethics and values he learned from this experience. I know his Poppa is watching from above with such pride.

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This past Saturday, excited for playoffs, we were all full of emotions. Not necessarily for the need to win, but what would happen if we lost.

While it was a good game and close (most of it), the fourth quarter showed a loss was inevitable. Closer to the end of the game the emotions started to bubble to the surface. And while the loss was a hard pill to swallow for the whole team, the young men in their final year of university were dealing with much more than the loss of a game. The loss meant this chapter was over.

Giant young men hugging each other with tears streaming was something I had not seen for the last several years. I never fully comprehended the emotion until I watched my son experience it.

So how do we cope with more ease when good things end?

At some point in our lives, something we held dear came to an end. Whether it’s a relationship, job, or experience; letting go is never easy.

Honouring what is, as it is, is the keystone of mindfulness.   Acceptance my be difficult but with acceptance comes an honouring of exactly what is going on. Grieving the end of something that provided so much good for us is a natural state. Take time to grieve intentionally, give yourself permission to feel exactly as you feel with no time limit and no comparison to others.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Celebrate the experience. Journal, talk, think and feel the benefits of what this experience brought you. Shift regret to gratitude and appreciation of that was expanded, learned and achieved.

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“When one door closes, another will open.”

There is one thing that is an absolute truth in life – there are so many different opportunities and directions to go in life that doors are always waiting for you to go through them and experience what is beyond them. You just have to choose which ones you want to go through.

One thing for sure, while I am sad to put away my purple and gold pompoms, the cheering section for my kids will never end and I know the opportunities are abundant with whatever the next chapter of life for them will be. The good things that came to an end, will be lessons that guide them towards more success.

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