Closure ain’t all that

July 2, 2014

When nothing is certain

Are you one of those people who likes things neatly tied up in perfectly fitting boxes?

That’s how I used to be.

Ambiguity was a horrifying thought.

Uncertainty used to make me uncomfortable.

I’ve always been a big believer in “what you see is what you get.”

Now that I’m past midlife, though, I see things differently.

It’s not always a good idea to force a conclusion before its time. As I used to do.

I’d do it just to get “closure.”

How many times have we heard the phrase, “I need closure.”

I see now that “closure” is mostly a search for solid ground.

Have you ever exercised power just to rid yourself of ambiguity and uncertainty?

Now that I’m past midlife, I see that closure isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

The thing about leaving things open is that it leaves room for what’s meant to be to happen.

Because I do believe in “meant to be.”

I know you’ve got stories about this and I’d love to hear them in the Comments section below.

48 comments on “Closure ain’t all that
  1. Jackie says:

    I’m just the opposite — I never finish anything (except for ice cream, I always finish ice cream), LOL!

  2. That’s right Carol. We strive for closure all our life to achieve stability in life. However, we have to just let it be to leave room for miracles. Nice post. You have a lovely blog.

  3. Don Purdum says:

    I think you bring up a really good point here! I’m not sure that you do ever really achieve closure. But, I do think that if you can come to terms with things it makes life simpler and easier.

  4. Sophie Bowns says:

    It’s good to come to terms with things!

  5. 100% agree. I used to ‘need’ to find closure, and it backfired sometimes. It’s important to recognize when pressing for closure isn’t the best direction to head in. A gifted friend of mine gave me the idea to impose at least a 24 hour ‘no responding’ time frame which gives me the time to come from a place of genuine heart instead of reactiveness – and avoid backfires.

  6. Some things do require closure but, for the most part, I’m with you. Most things need time to play out the way they’re supposed to. P.S. I’m also with Jackie, and ALWAYS finish my ice cream. Always!

  7. I have made this same transition. I’ve become a lot more comfortable with ambiguity, and being in an in-between space. I wonder why it take patience to learn such patience!

  8. Karen says:

    I understand this, Carol. I once had occasion to confront a person about a wrong they’d committed–a terrible wrong, that had created emotional havoc in my life and those of people I love. In confronting this person, I felt I’d get “closure.” Sadly, it didn’t really work. Nothing changed after the encounter, and I finally realized that the only thing that would bring “closure” (if such a thing exists) would be time.

    • Confrontation hardly ever works, just by definition. I had a therapist decades ago who wanted me to address issues with my father, who was so incapable of it that backfire was the only possible result. It’s just not always possible to make things tie up.

  9. I am also with Jackie, and Lois, and you – I always finish my ice cream.

    Closure? I leave certain things open-ended. I learned my lesson when I’d write letters to people to try to finish things up, only to get slapped in the face by being too nice. Too hurt, too much hurt. Now I leave it alone, and let fate take over.

  10. I’m so glad I visited you this morning. What a wise, albeit, brief, post! Thank you, Carol. I completely agree with you. I once obsessed over closure but realized it was just impossible, especially if the relationship is too deep and emotionally pregnant. It simply would not have been right to force anything. Which is why one of my favorite quotes is one by Rilke:

    “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

    Suffice to say, I am still friends, very good friends, with an ex-bf / ex-fiance. Is that bad? But won’t forcing an ending be worse? I’m going with the flow. And I guarantee, my attitude 10yrs ago was far different. 🙂

  11. Lana says:

    Another lesson in life I’m working on. I tend to get anxious over things if they haven’t had a “conclusion”. I’m finding that life is much easier if I just mellow out a bit.

  12. You have me re-thinking a recent decision based on the need for “closure.” Perhaps I should have let things alone. Hmmm…time will tell. But now that I have read you post…I may not need closure as much as I have in the past. Thanks, Carol!

  13. Ellen Dolgen says:

    Agreed, closure is not what it is cracked up to be!

  14. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I’m one of those people who craves closure and is frustrated by ambiguity. But the older I get, the more I understand, that ambiguity is life and life is ambiguity.

  15. Now that I am over 50, I realize that I cannot control everything that I want to. What I have learned to control is how I react to something. “It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.” ~ Jim Rohn

  16. Jodi Sky says:

    Thanks for sharing this post. When I became self-employed 2 years ago, I’ve had to make friends with uncertainty. It was terrifying at first, but once you surrender to the flow of the Universe and trust then beautiful things happen.

  17. Such a cool concept. Being cool on closure! Going to work on it…

  18. Jay Lickus says:


    Great Post as usual.

    I’m going to take a chance and speak for all men here……
    Men need closure.
    It is hardwired into our psyche.
    From the days of the caveman we had to kill for dinner.
    No kill, no food , no survival.
    We had to build security for our families.
    No cave, no front door, no protection from the big woolly monsters, no survival.
    We had to procreate and reach climax.
    No $%#^&, no babies, no survival.

    It still directs our behaviors a million years later.
    I think men thrive on closure.

    P.S. Maybe with the exception of marriage? LOL

  19. Myke Todd says:

    This hits home with me, on a myriad of levels. I might go so far as to say, closure defines me. Today, I was driving and dwelling on a significant “Closure” in my past, and trying to assign value to it. I never quite got a handle on it…

    Anyways, I appreciate all you presented here. Thanks, Myke

  20. Kathy says:

    I also needed closure but found out the hard way sometimes closure brings more pain than satisfaction. As I have gotten older I have learned things happen for a reason. Glad I learned that lesson as an important person re-entered my life due to the fact I let go and didn’t seek closure.
    Thanks for sharing

  21. Tammy says:

    Not a huge fan of closure. I’ve never found it, though I looked pretty hard in my 30’s and 40’s. Instead I am happy with resolve. I resolve to accept what comes, to be open to it, and to embrace what it brings me. Life is much easier these days.

  22. Sheryl says:

    I agree that leaving things open leaves room for possibilities – on the other hand, some things can go on ad nauseum and just need to go away with closure.

    • I do agree that some things must end…but not all things achieve so-called “closure” in which they are neatly tied up. You’re right, some things do go on!

  23. Diane says:

    Closure is something we control freaks strive after. Putting on that neat little bow. And you’re so right. Doing so sometimes closes the door to future possibilities!

  24. That is why I live by the motto, one day at a time and don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s all small stuff in the big picture.

  25. Becky Blades says:

    I’m with Jackie and the ice cream.

  26. Great post Carol. I’ve always been guilty of this and have burned bridges that could have been repaired. Now I see that leaving things be may sometimes change your life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.