01/02/2014 01:58 pm ET Updated Mar 04, 2014

Endings and Beginnings: Which Ones Feel the Best?

We all lead busy lives, whether we are at work or at play, on vacation or at home. There is always something to be done and so little time in which to do it. We tell our children to hurry up in the morning when they need to get to school and we tell them to finish their tasks before bedtime. It is almost as if we need to make a concerted effort just to complete our self-inflicted expectations of our days. When it is vacation time, we take such joy in the beginning of something new. There will be no schedules, and we will have more time to be together. We relish the birthday celebrations with the concept of the beginning of a new year in the lives of our children. Many of these transitions are accompanied with a hidden tear as we witness the months and years taking no heed of our feelings. We are sad at transition times, whether or not they connote a beginning or an end, and I believe that this is OK.

As I venture into a new year, I think of my growing family. They all seem so young in the shadow of my years. I am feeling such happiness for their health and zest for life. They work so hard, and they are so passionate about their beliefs. This beginning brings me closer to my need to stop and take a deep breath. I am blessed with children and grandchildren and a wonderful husband. What, then, is causing this lump in my throat?

I recall many of the children I have had over the years in my classes. They have started school years thinking that I was a strict teacher with many rules. They have wondered if I would be fair in the midst of my rules. They have always experienced the trust and security of knowing what to expect, which has caused them to end the year successful and empowered and prepared to move on. Parents always seemed emotional when it was the end of the year. They didn't want to think about change or new beginnings. They wanted the warm feelings that had been established to continue.

In my years of retirement, I still feel like a young woman inside my thoughts, yet I am more tired than I used to be, and I like to conserve my energy for my family. I don't want that young woman to disappear. I have never really liked changes and endings, but I know that each one has been the momentum to help me to move forward.

When I was a little girl I had a favorite orange, chenille bathrobe. I loved that comfy robe, even after it started to shred from use. My mother tried to quietly take it out for trash pick-up, but I always managed to retrieve it before that happened. I would love my life to be like that robe, so I could go back to using it in the same way. When the robe succumbed to rags I received a beautiful new robe, but it took me some time to get accustomed to it. I guess life right now is like my chenille robe. I would like to go back to the warmth of the familiar fabric of my youth; however, my new beginnings in this part of my life are quite beautiful.

As the year 2014 approaches, let us help each other understand the cause of and treasure all of the lumps in our throats, whether we are children or adults of all ages. Let us welcome the transitions and know they are part of life. That is something we can always value!