Anticipation of endings

Arun Kumar
5 min readJul 30, 2022


Arun Kumar


We are always thinking about the future to have a better past and miss out on the present.” — Unknown

As I write this post, my thoughts drift to the Island of Endings. It is just like when meditating, the mind manages to stay focused on three breaths, and before I know, finds itself in a different space and time. The tricks my monkey mind has up its sleeve!

Endings. They are to have something today that will not be there tomorrow.

Somewhere along the journey that connects today with tomorrow, I pass through a door, and as I do, it closes behind me. Something I was carrying in today gets left behind.

One journey continues, another ends.

It happens all the time and if you think that by now, I know the drill, well, think again. Often, endings still catch me by surprise. When endings happen, a range of emotions could surface. It is hard to tell which one it will be the next time.

The end of a week of vacation in Paris. It is the last evening and there is an ache of leaving something behind. An ache of not quite knowing if this will be the final farewell or someday, I will return again.

The end of a stormy night and there is a sense of relief the next morning. The night after Voldemort is finally done and over with, everyone in Hogwarts sits on the floor and leans their head on the shoulders of whoever is sitting next to them and closes their eyes. Among the ruins of the castle, the morning rays of the sun shimmer through the stained-glass windows and play with the wisps of drifting smoke.

The end of a game of soccer, a country wins the grand finale of the world cup, but another loses. In one, people are joyous and there is a celebration in the streets, while in the other, they feel somber and think, damn it, we were so close.

I can think of many more emotions that are triggered by endings. There is one that stands out and is not even related to endings per se. This particular emotion is triggered by the thought of endings and what is to follow. Or more precisely, what is not going to follow.

The anticipation of endings could also bring the emotion of fear as I visualize myself confronting the emptiness in tomorrow.

A feeling the anticipation generates is a fear of emptiness that will greet me beyond the door that I will pass through. The fear of how I am going to spend the day. The fear that when I climb in the bed at the end of the day, would I say to myself that it was a day well spent? And as I pull the covers and start to drift into sleep, will I look forward to the next day, and perhaps, would love to repeat what was today?

The anticipation of endings triggers a vision that I am closing a door behind and taking a step forward confident that it will meet the ground. Only at the last moment, I realize that I am standing on the edge of a cliff. I am going to tumble down the precipice.

You know the feeling when you skip a step while climbing down the stairs. The heart skips a beat and there is an emptiness in the pit of the stomach.

I search the web and see if there is a phobia associated with the anticipation of endings. No such luck. I am just going to call it “Finistophobia.”

Finistophobia: noun, finis-to-pho-bia; emotion of fear generated by anticipation of endings that would leave us feeling empty. A condition often felt prior to endings. Etymology: From finis in Latin + phobia from ancient Greek. Earliest documented use: 2022.

Back to my imaginary trip to the Island of Endings and how my thoughts drifted to its shores.

I anticipate finishing this post in a couple of days. There are a few more ideas lined up that I can work on. Even with this luxury already in hand, as I anticipate ending this post, the fear that the well of ideas will run dry begins to nag.

Reacting to that fear, what do I do? Instead of working on finishing the post, my attention shifts to the urgent need for collecting and making a list of ideas for posts to write in the future.

I find that I am no longer mindful of the present but thinking about what I am going to do tomorrow, so when tomorrow gets here, there will be something there to welcome me and wanting to be done.

And you can well imagine what happens when that moment comes tomorrow.

Can’t you? Well, I repeat the same.

The fear of emptiness in tomorrow makes me miss out on living in the present.

I am no longer focused on what I am writing now. I am thinking about what I will be writing next. The reaction to anticipating of endings becomes what I generally do — not be mindful. Not being engaged in what I am doing now but thinking about what I will be doing in the next moment.

Did I not read somewhere that mindfulness was not a conducive trait for our ancestors to have? A hominoid lost in the present did not have much of a chance of survival. In the conditions of scarcity, to survive, I am better off if I were to look ahead and bury some nuts before the winter arrives. In modern times, I am better off if I have a few “to do” lists up my sleeve.

In order not to have a feeling of emptiness tomorrow, I become a collector of ideas and want to nestle in the safety of their warmth.

I am beginning to think that what will appease the fear of emptiness is to have a long list of ideas that will last beyond my last breath. If I had that list, I can be writing in peace.

Perhaps, an urge to make a list and preempt the fear of emptiness finds a nudge from the old instinct that my survival depends on planning for tomorrow.

Will it not be wonderful to have a list of ideas that will last forever even though I will not? I have been told over and over to save enough money to last beyond my lifespan so why not have a list of engaging ideas to do the same? To have a happy fourth phase of life, I need to start early on saving money and making a list of ideas to live by. I can even include the unspent ideas in my will and donate it to the Charity of Ideas.

Now if you will excuse me, this post is coming to an end and time for me to calm my fears of endings. I need to pull out my list for future posts and feel safe.

Ciao, and may you be free of finistophobia. May you be free of the fear of endings and the feeling of emptiness tomorrow.