Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the concept of closure as it relates to my life, my experiences, and beyond. Perhaps I have too much time on my hands as we’re all in the midst of a global pandemic. However, whatever the reason, I think it’s worth exploring such an ambiguous concept because everyone has felt they needed closure at some point. I’ve been wondering- is the concept of closure even real? Or is closure an illusion humans have created to convince ourselves we have control of time and healing?
Throughout my four years of young adulthood, I’ve broken off childhood friendships, graduated college amid a global pandemic, and had my formative adult years shaped by racial injustice and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Among all the never-ending civil unrest in addition to managing my ever-changing internal world, I’m trying to find what helps me cope with the intersections of loss and change. I’m also learning what are the best ways to effectively move on.
I think what brought me to examine, or re-examine, closure so closely was completing my degree in May with no commencement to celebrate the accomplishment of finishing school. I struggled throughout college with managing my mental health, especially during my freshman and sophomore years. So much so that I often flirted with the idea of dropping out to relieve myself of the stress and grief. However, semester after semester I stuck it out. Because the silver-lining amid all my strife was always going to be my graduation.
I always thought walking the stage was going to be my moment of closure. Graduation was supposed to close the four-year chapter of my life that represented immaturity, clumsiness, anxiety, doubt, insecurity, etc. and signal me to “move on.”
Obviously, I didn’t get a graduation due to the pandemic. Consequently, I began to struggle with my mental health again at the beginning of March. Without a graduation, and the closure I thought it would bring, my poor mental health bled into the summer with what seemed to be no end in sight. What I’ve now realized is the idea of an event bringing closure, or closing off a chapter of my life, was a bit ridiculous. I created this illusion in my head to help me cope with undiagnosed depression and anxiety through college. All while never actually coping. Without the illusion of closure, my mental health was still below par because I never properly healed from anything the way I should’ve years ago.
Ultimately, the closest thing to closure is time and space. We often think we need closure to move on, but we just need time. Time to heal. Time to reflect. Time to ourselves in a safe space. What I’m slowly learning is we don’t have as much control over life as we’d like. But that’s not a bad thing.
Sometimes I can’t control my mental health. Sometimes I can’t control when people come and go out of my life. I definitely can’t control the continued injustice that happens in the world around me. I can’t even control time or how long it takes me to heal from trauma. However, I’m actively working on relinquishing the imagined control I thought I had on different aspects of life. Instead, I’m finding comfort in the healing process. Closure may not be real in the way I imagined it, but I’ve experienced so much growth upon simply realizing that fact. And that is enough for me.
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