Forty Things I Learnt Before Turning 40: Lesson Twenty-Eight

I’ve learnt that sometimes it’s not actually the end when you think it is and that there is often something more magical and amazing still in store for you.

One thing I always loved back in the era of CDs with the release of new music, was the complete surprise when there was a hidden bonus track at the end of an album. Just when you thought it was over, a surprise song popped up after a long gap of silence. Like the well-known quote says, ‘it’s not over until the fat lady sings,’ we can’t assume that a current situation is irreversible or that the end is clearly determined.

It’s a great reminder that sometimes the best is still to come and that often there is a hidden message that will carry you into your next chapter. In her memoir, ‘More Myself,’ Alicia Keys reflects on record executives telling her that she should go solo rather than be a part of a band and how sometimes no matter how badly we want a dream to come true, sometimes it’s not enough. That “growth requires movement. And often, the only way forward is through an exit door.” Our attitude towards endings is what dictates the influence it will have on us and our future.

I’ve always been an optimistic person, holding hope that things will work out as they are supposed to. It’s given me the ability to find a silver lining in all situations. I think it’s why, once I get past the initial shock and devastation of abrupt endings, I’m able to find that glimmer of hope that guides me forward, onwards and upwards. Natalie Imbruglia poetically poses the notion that whatever problem you are facing, to have faith that with time,

Her bones will ache, her mouth will shake
And as the passion dies her magic heart will break
She’ll fly to France, but there’s no chance
No hope for Cinderella

Come September
Everything wrong gonna be alright
Come September

A quote I heard in the film ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,’ (which has been quoted by many others before including John Lennon and author Paulo Coelho) that I’ve always loved is, ‘Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.’ It reinforces the idea that when things seem dark, gloomy, hard and tough, when it feels like it is the end; chances are it’s not. There’s often bigger and better things to come. As Kylie Minogue sings, “It’s never too late, we’ve still got time.”

I always loved when playing video games as a kid, those moments where you can see your energy bar getting lower and lower and you feel like all hope is lost, when all of a sudden you see a power up and your life in the game is extended. It’s an attitude that I’ve tried to adopt growing up; that when the clouds are rolling in, to look for that burst of sunshine that is fighting its way through the clouds. Focussing on that and moving in its direction.

Colplay’s track ‘O,’ which is in fact a hidden bonus track from their album ‘Ghost Stories’ speaks to the theme of never giving up. Chris Martin’s voice can be heard repeating the phrase, “Don’t ever let go” during the ambient piece of music, which closes out the album. Before that, he sings,

Still I always
Look up to the sky
Pray before the dawn
’Cause they fly always
One minute they arrive
Next you know they’re gone
They fly on

Ohhh so fly on, ride through
Maybe one day I’ll fly next to you

I love the hope in the song. It stirs up clear imagery of birds flying across the horizon as the sun goes down, highlighting the inevitable end of each day, but resisting the urge to hold onto something that can’t last forever. The silent prayer that is said, wishing them well on their journey and the belief that it won’t be the last time they’ll be seen; finishing with the hope that one day too he’ll be able to soar with them.

Not all endings have to be seen as finite. Choosing to believe that there’s always a better day ahead, despite how things end when the sun goes down, is the way I’ve found best to view endings. And as Rachel Berry and the many students from William McKinley High School in ‘Glee’ sung,

Some will win
Some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on, and on, and on

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to that feelin’



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