Personal essay about significant endings for Leaving Cert English #625Lab

Write a personal essay about your response to an ending, or endings, in your life that you consider significant. (100 marks) 

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Endings - our world is full of them. No matter who you are, everyone experiences endings in their lives at some stage. Endings have been in existence since the beginning of time. It seems as though everything that starts must come to an end. For example, the existence of dinosaurs came to an end, leading to their extinction. Wars are started, causing violence, and are ended, resulting in peace. Trends are set, and come to an end throughout eras and generations - leading to the evolution of society as we know it today. Endings can come in many shapes and forms that differ for each person. However, one thing is for sure, we've all got to deal with them at some point. (Good intro, but would be even better if it was made more personal. Speak in the first person. The rest of the essay is written in the first person, so it's not a huge issue here, but a personal essay should be personal.)

Endings are certainly a part of my life. My earliest recollection of dealing with an ending was at the ripe age of three. I can remember climbing up onto my couch and settling in in front of the TV to watch my favourite movie at the time "Finding Nemo". As a three year old filled with enough energy to supply a small village with power, I'm sure my parents were delighted and relieved to find something to calm me down... At least temporarily. I can remember sitting in front of the TV, hypnotised by the colourful animations and grasping story line created by Pixar. I felt as if I was in a bubble, in my own secluded world. However, this only lasted ninety minutes. Then, like a hypnotist snapping someone out of a trance, the ending credits would flash up on the screen. That was when my little legs dangling over the edge of the couch would start kicking and the calm ambience of the sitting room would be shattered. The screams of the three year old unable to accept that a film had ended filled the room. Fortunately, this state of irrational hysteria disappeared the second my mother hit the rewind button on the VHS player. Thankfully, like the movie, my irrational behaviour came to an end as the years went on. Unfortunately, I also grew to realise that most endings in life don't have a rewind button. (Boom! Nostalgia, reflection and insight nail the genre.)

I can remember the passing of my grandfather and coming to the harsh realisation that his life had come to an end. I knew that there was no going back and that there was no rewind button for death. Despite that fact , I still can't help but wish he was still here. This was the first ending in my life that has left an impact on me. I couldn't help but think about the transience and brevity of human life. I couldn't comprehend how a man who was always active, even in his later years, could be consumed by Parkinson's. For him , as the disease progressed , it was the end of him being able to go out doing what he loved - walking his dogs. I can remember as a young child going for walks with him around the River Bank for miles, picking blackberries and enjoying the free pleasures nature had to offer. Even though in his final years he lost his ability to walk, I still remember him for the walks he used to go on almost every day with his dogs. While this type of ending was devastating for me, other endings can be bittersweet, and even positive.

Some endings happen naturally and beyond our control. Other endings, we can make them happen ourselves. Sometimes, we have to end things for our own benefit, even if it's difficult. For me, I had to end a friendship which ended up being toxic. I was under the illusion that it was an authentic friendship, which I later realised was not the case. The friendship was like a one way road - where I would go out of my way for them whenever they were having a bad day. However, when the tables turned, the compassion and sympathy was not returned. This eventually became draining for me and made me realise that I was being used. That's when I knew, for my own benefit, that I had to end the "friendship". However, this is easier said than done. I had to gradually distance myself which eventually worked. Even though cutting ties with some people can be difficult, I'm glad I did so. Now I feel as if the weight has vanished from my shoulders. Sometimes you have to create your own endings, even though it can be tough.

Like friendships, there are other things that can be ended too. Nowadays, we have the highest rate of divorces. It's difficult to tell why there are so many divorces today. It could be due to a number of factors such as people getting married for the wrong reasons or that people now have the freedom to end a marriage. Years ago in Ireland, it was against the law to end a marriage unless your husband or wife passed away. This law still stands in certain countries. While the freedom to divorce is beneficial in many ways for people who aren't happy with their marriage, there are also disadvantages. Divorces tear families apart, which some children don't know how to deal with. It can be very difficult for them. Thankfully, I've never had to deal with this in my life, but I know many people who do deal with it, and it's certainly not easy for them. Divorces aren't initially anticipated. When a couple are standing at the alter saying their vows, they don't know that they'll be separated from each other in years to come. While these type of endings aren't anticipated, others are. (The essay has to be personal, so I would bring in your experience of divorce. You know some people who lived through it? Tell us how you saw the devastation it caused for them, even very briefly. This way you make it more personal.)

One of the endings in which many people my own age know is coming is the ending of school. This milestone is fast approaching and for many of us it's a mystery how the last six years went by in the blink of an eye. Knowing that school is coming to an end has everyone feeling a mixture of emotions. Some people are thrilled to be leaving, whereas others don't want to leave at all. For me, I'm looking forward to leaving and to see what else is out there. I'm excited to learn new things and gain new experiences. However, I can't deny that I'll miss school and seeing the same people almost everyday for the last six years. Now is the time when we're about to go down our own individual paths. Even though the door of school is coming to a close, a new door of opportunities is about to swing open. Nobody can truly predict what's on the other side of that door. What will be will be. I believe that everything happens for a reason. If someones plans don't work out for some reason, that reason will become clear in the future and everything will work out and resolve itself in the end.

I only recently realised that something else had ended without me noticing it - my childhood. Recently, I turned eighteen, which means that I'm now officially an adult. This led me to ponder - when did my childhood actually come to an end? It's not as if there was a date marked in my calendar which said "End of Childhood". I don't think that there's a set age or sudden end to childhood. I think that childhood gradually fizzes and dissolved away, leading to the teenage years and eventually adulthood. We gradually grow out of childhood. Biologically, we can't control this. However, mentally, some people decide to grasp onto their youth and carry on that childhood spirit right up to late adulthood, or even for the rest of their lives. Some people have a negative connotation associated with child like behaviours, others see it as a breath of fresh air. 

It's sometimes difficult to tell when we enter a new stage of our lives and when another ends. Like the ambiguity with the ending of childhood, when is the end of adulthood ? Everyone knows that adulthood begins at eighteen, but when does the transition of being an adult to becoming an elder occur? Is it when we see that first wrinkle or grey hair? Or is it when we can't relate to the current trends and pop culture anymore? Everyone has different ideas of what age someone becomes an elder at. Some would say sixty is old, others would say that it's young. Some young children would even argue that thirty is old. It's clear that there's no definite answer for the age that someone becomes old at. Personally, I think a big factor with this is the mentality of the person. If someone believes they're old, they'll act it. If someone believes they're young, they'll act it. We have more control over the stages of our lives than we realise. It's only when we accept we're old that we truly become it.

In conclusion, endings come in a variety of different ways. Some of them can be controlled while others can't. Some endings we like, and some we hate. Depending on how someone looks at it, an ending can can also be viewed as a beginning and vice-versa. While endings come in many shapes and forms, there's no denying that they are a huge part of what make up the world we live in. They'll continue to be a part of out world, perhaps until the world itself, eventually comes to an end.

Write a personal essay about your response to an ending, or endings, in your life that you consider significant.

Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

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