In theatre we face endings all the time. The end of the planning period , the end of rehearsals, and the end of the production run to name one set.
What I want to address today is how we deal with those endings.
I thinks it's important to work with our kids on accepting endings as being both okay and natural. To celebrate the conclusion of an amazing journey rather than grieve that the journey is over. To look at the things we've learnt, the skills we've gained, the friends we've made, and appreciate it. Not devalue all other aspects of the experience by making the final part of your journey about sadness, your final thoughts and memories being grief, and often creating an uncomfortable experience for those around you (and maybe even ruining their final memories of the journey).
I like to tell cast members not to grieve, but rather be thankful for the amazing experiences and look towards the next fantastic adventure. I like to see an ending in theatre as the beginning of something new. And this time, you start something new with more knowledge and skills, and hopefully a greater sense of adventure.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with feeling a little sad that something you've enjoyed is now coming to a close. However, I feel that needs to be a momentary reflection where you acknowledge that the inevitable must now happen, and then move forward.
I know it is easier as we get older to see what we may have missed out on had a journey not concluded, but I wish someone had taken the time to try and teach me this when I was younger. It's a skill useful beyond the realms of backstage. Accepting endings as a natural part of life allows us to become flexible and quick to adapt. instead of wasting time trying to 'come to terms' with the grief, we adapt in the moment, adjust expectations, and live in the present.
A friend once told me that we should all take responsibility for "everything" that happens to us. I was mortified in that moment and accused him of inadvertently victim blaming (although not those exact words as they were not in trend 15 years ago). He went on to explain that, for those things that others 'do
to us' over which we have no control, our responsibility lays with how we choose to deal with it. How do we let it define us? Do we give up? Do we rise above? Do we learn? Do we ignore or pretend? How we deal with it is our choice. This definitely applies to endings.
How do I define myself by my endings:
My life is a series of new beginnings. Each one feeding my mind, body or soul and contribute to this amazing journey. To each and every participant of my journey, thank you.