“I like to live always at the beginnings of a life, not at their end.”
This quote by essayist Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) caught my attention recently. While brief, it’s a thoughtful prescription for living that I’ve been mulling over the past few days.
What did Anaïs mean by “at the beginnings of ‘a’ life”?
The implication is that she’d lived more than one life inside the overarching plot of her entire existence. And why not? Life presents cruel circumstances that shift the ground beneath us. We respond by adapting and evolving improved versions of ourselves to match the task. We throw ourselves in new projects, relationships or adventures of the mind with enthusiasm and keen focus.
That which begins also ends—loses momentum, fades, expires. But Anaïs did not live “at their end” and there’s a lesson in that.
How beautiful is the phrase “always to live”— not passively existing, but actively choosing curiosity and hope. She immersed herself in discovery instead of surrendering to the winding-down of things.
At the brink of every ending, is a new beginning waiting to be noticed.