The Last Quarter

Written by Samantha Wall, LCSW
Edited by Joe DeNoon


Even though the weather may not always agree, September begins the fall season, a period of time when we are reminded of how close we are to the last part of the year. The leaves may start to change, and the pumpkin flavors are now out in the stores.  This is a time of year when we start to reflect on the year we have had, and look towards how we want to approach the last part of it. Yet there are always differing feelings about the beginning of the end. For some, it may feel like we haven’t achieved what we wanted to achieve, and it can feel overwhelming to think about all the things we have left. For others, it can feel empowering to think about what we have accomplished and what we have ahead of us. 

As Francine discussed, there is no set blueprint on what a meaningful life looks like, we decide that for ourselves. Bringing in the concept of gratitude, it is not the actual gratitude that benefits us the most, it is the way it shifts our viewpoint. In the last part of the year, it can be so easy to look at and criticize the way we did or didn’t do things, the goals we didn’t fully reach, or how daunting the task of cramming everything in the next couple of months will be to accomplish. It can be so easy to look back and pick at ourselves in a negative way, criticizing the things we ‘should’ have done or ‘should’ be doing! What can be hard is looking back and forward with understanding and grace. 

Contemplating what it means to be a nurse or work in healthcare, there is a lot of looking back and forward thinking of how we can improve our practice.  Looking at what could have gone better is how we make improvements. To make effective improvements, however, we also need to look at what went well. We want to incorporate these so we can make the improvements needed to help the patients in the best way possible. If we only did one or the other, it would be hard to move forward in a way that benefits us or the patients, and we need both. This concept applies to most aspects of our lives. We cannot have one without the other. 

Understanding and grace can help us create a balance when assessing what has happened and what can be done moving forward. When we are able to have understanding and grace for ourselves and others, it can help us become more neutral, and decrease big emotions when looking at the ways we want to change. It can take away the need to blame or defend ourselves and others. Understanding can bring us clarity and empathy; grace can help us forgive. 

How can you do this as we start the last quarter of the year? 

Is there anyone that can support you in doing this for yourself and others?

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