I walked off the basketball court for the last time about four years ago. The old body just couldn’t keep up with not only with the young guys, but the multiple-day healing process. After sustaining serious injuries–one that required surgery–I knew it was time to hang up the high tops.
Last days are defining moments. Sometimes, we know they’re coming, such as the last day that we drive an old car because we are buying a new one; the last day of treatment for an illness; or the last time we use a product that’s being obsoleted. At other times, we experience a last day, unknowingly. Some are welcomed, such as the last day time we stubbed a toe, argued with a grumpy neighbor, or were forced to make a difficult decision. Other surprise last days aren’t always appreciated, such as when your favorite restaurant closes its doors unexpectedly, or your last day of gainful employment before being laid off.
Last days mark change–some of it good and some of it bad–but necessary nonetheless. Without the death of one thing, there can’t be the birth of another. As the display case in Harvard University’s Caspersen Room says: “Out of the ould fields, must spring and grow the new Corne.”
Last days mark change and all stories are based on change. They form the backbone of the great story of life. The bigger the change, the better the story. If nothing changes, however, what remains is a non-story collection of narrative facts.
Basketball has played an important role in my life and I needed to replace it with something. Luckily, I live at the mouth of a wilderness park with steep hills and lots of trails. I now explore those trails. And while my daytime treks aren’t as exciting as a two-on-one breakaway, or defending a full-court press, I find that they offer quiet time to think, reflect, and to develop more stories.
So, what are some of the last days in your industry? Career? Perhaps you can use them in a story. Tell us about the last time you know it was a last day. Or, tell us about a customer’s last day, yet they didn’t know it at the time. All of these last days are the beginnings of new stories.
Photo Credit: National Archives. General Douglas MacArthur signs as Supreme Allied Commander during formal surrender ceremonies on the USS MISSOURI in Tokyo Bay. Behind General MacArthur are Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright and Lieutenant General A. E. Percival.