I remarked to Cody the other day, "You don't often know when you're doing something for the last time."
"Oh, that's sad," he said.
To which I had to explain that I was thinking about my fuzzy socks, how the weather had gotten warmer, and how I hadn't realized that the previous time I'd worn them was going to be the last time for the season. Not exactly deep, but not sad, either.
However, Cody got me thinking. And not just about the depressing things, like the last time I had cheese before having to give it up. There are very few things that I can say with complete certainty that I knew in advance when the last time I'd be doing them was.
School is one. Pick a class, a year, a semester, a college. I knew in advance the last day I'd be attending. Fashion has been another. I knew for certain the last time I was EVER going to wear a bodysuit/shirt in the nineties. The last time I was going to peg my pants and call it "cool." Apartments are another. Fortunately, I've never been evicted, so I've always known the last time I'll be in my apartment.
There's a certain giddiness that accompanies knowing the end of something (remember, depressing things don't count). I've always thought that it was beginnings that elicited excitement—and they do—but endings do, too. Part of it, I think, is that the you've had time to plan for the ending, to look forward to finishing. There's something very satisfying about finishing. Whether it's finishing college, finishing a novel, or being finished with living in a certain location, you've completed something. Time, energy, thought, effort all went into something, and now it's done. Completed. Closed. There's no vagueness. I'm not a big fan of vagueness. I suppose it has its place, but I can't think of where.
By contrast, I think there's always a vague nostalgia for the things that end without us being aware of it. As if, somehow, I would have enjoyed the last wearing of my fuzzy socks more had I known it was their final time out of the drawer this season. Nostalgia is like planning for something in the past—reviewing it enough in your mind that you prepare yourself for something that already happened. Then it just becomes a memory, I guess (if we're talking about something more important than my socks).
Yes, all this contemplation led to some depressing thoughts, naturally, I guess. I wish that I could remember the very final time I got to ride my childhood horse before she was injured. I didn't know it was going to be special, and didn't commit the day to memory. I think that says something in itself, though: that whole "every moment is precious; treat every moment like its your last" thing. I don't know if I have that kind of memory capability or mental stamina, but it's a good thing to be reminded to do every once in a while.
Even more, my philosophical, rambling thoughts (and blog) have made me more aware of lasts, and more eager to celebrate them. Fortunately, I'm going to have several opportunities in the next months, what with Cody finishing college and me finishing up my twenties.
Oh, and maybe the very best thing about something ending, about getting to the last of something, is that it will be replaced with a beginning, with something new.