Off the Record: what does it mean to find closure?

As a second semester senior, I feel like a hamster on a treadmill — constantly trying to reach an unidentifiable end and perpetually running as if I’m being chased. And while the prospect of leaving for college is daunting to think about, it is the insurmountable wave of anxiety that overcomes me when I realize how little time I have left in high school. Sure, to some, three months is a long time, but to me, three months is not nearly enough time to tie up the loose ends I have here, mainly in terms of the connections I have made with people and places. 

Throughout high school, I have long tried to find closure within various aspects of my life — whether that was losing interest in something I had been passionate about, abandoning extracurricular activities halfway or losing friendships I believed would last. Despite my attempts, however, I never succeeded until recently.

Finding closure within yourself is the best way to move forward in life. (Illustration by Shreya Partha)

In the past, I sought to find closure or acceptance anywhere other than the source. For example, if I lost interest in an activity like basketball, I’d continue to push myself to commit despite it no longer being interesting to me. Subconsciously, I wanted to prove that I still could care, because I believed  certain traits and activities defined who I was. In a way, I felt that by no longer continuing these activities or in certain cases, friendships, I lost pieces of myself with my decision. Ultimately, I never allowed myself to find closure with myself because I never accepted that I had better things coming and it was time to move on to those better things; more importantly, I never allowed myself to fully embody who I was, because I constantly equated my identity with external facets. 

Recently, I went through a period of inner reflection as to how I wanted to spend the last couple of months of my high school career.  As exhausting as it was, it was also enlightening; it taught me how differently we are dealt our cards in life, and the discrepancies that people have with themselves, one another and their thoughts. Take for example, a friendship. If I no longer feel that friendship is healthy or something that positively influences me, I may want to knot that loose end, but the question that remains is how I would get closure. While I may expect to find closure with the other person, my feelings of wanting that closure may not be reciprocated. Because of this, it is important that I recognize that finding closure in friendships through the acceptance of its end is the best way to move forward. I learned to remove myself from those situations in a way that didn’t cause a big falling out, while still preventing the friendship from continuing as it was. 

I found the only person who can fully provide the closure I craved was myself. Yes, that may sound counterintuitive — but with friendships, there is no guarantee the other person will offer me the closure I need. Finding closure within myself through affirmations, acceptance of the situation I face and searching for ways to move forward has been the most empowering path for me.