Oh, it’s Opening Day for major league baseball. For me, a dwindling minority, it’s one of the happiest days of the year. Hope springs eternal, the saying goes. Could it be a fun, exciting season ending with a World Series victory? The truth is most days in the next six months will be agonized over to some degree. There will be ups and downs, joy and frustration, most likely ending in disappointment. UNLESS, I take it all as fun to be engaged in, no matter the outcome. If I appreciate the great plays and great performances without regard for which team makes them, I can savor it all. Even the bitter defeat. I’m alive and part of the game.

This isn’t just about baseball. Scanning the landscape of life, I see so many first days and nights we immerse ourselves in with anticipation and excitement. Just to name a few, Week One for the National Football League, Opening Night for a play, opening day for hunting season, the Grand Opening for a new business venture, Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics. What is it that makes these kick-offs so enjoyable?

Starting is Fun

My unofficial tabulation is most people like starting more than continuing or finishing. When starting a project or a game or a holiday, we’re fresh and optimistic. Usually, we can’t wait to get started. Nothing has gone wrong yet and hopefully everyone is pulling in the same direction. If you’re working alone, the hope is your mind, body and spirit are all pulling in the same direction without fears or pains or intentions creating internal conflict.

Many people find it difficult to follow a plan. A routine can become boring and they want to do something else or something new. If the activity isn’t getting good results early on, there is a tendency to get discouraged or a compulsion to go off plan and change for no good reason. I saw a funny example last night in a TV series called 1670. That’s the year in which it is set. The main character thinks he has the plague. When a physician insists he doesn’t and tells him he does need to exercise to get his weight down, the man declares he’s going to run for two hours every day. He starts running, but after about 50 feet, he is winded and miserable. That’s it. He’s done.

Finishing a season or project successfully obviously gives us tremendous satisfaction. However, there are quite a few who find it especially hard to bring their work to a proper conclusion. In the case of watching your favorite sports team struggle for months can make it tough to keep rooting through their futility. In a creative endeavor, there’s the problem of bringing it to a fulfilling finish that’s all we hoped it would be. Persevering through poor sales with a crafts booth at a festival is deeply disappointing and makes an early departure tempting.

Back to the Point

Whether you’re living your own dream or rooting for someone else’s, in the beginning the future is full of promise. In addition, there’s no limit on the number of beginnings we can have. I’m reminded of the partnership I’ve had over the years with one of my closest friends. We wrote at least 10 comedy scripts, a book of humor and a few other bits here and there. We occasionally came up with another idea to make money and each time we started a new venture, we calculated how much we could make if we just achieved some basic sales targets that seemed completely doable. We would laugh at my tendency to take out the calculator with sparkling optimism and demonstrate how we were going to get rich. We adopted a line used by Joe and Gus from the movie Gone Fishin’: “We’re millionaires! Millionaires!” We were self-aware enough to know how ridiculous we were being, but it didn’t matter. The thrill of launching another undertaking carried us away.

When it comes to baseball or other sports, there’s always a chance your team may go all the way against all odds. I’ve been rooting for my favorite team, the San Francisco Giants, for most of my life. For so long, every season ended in disappointment. They were good many years and quite a few were lousy. Their few trips to the World Series met with defeat, dashing high hopes. Finally, in 2010 they broke through with a roster largely made up of what has been referred to as cast-offs and misfits. The long drought for Giants fans was over. Then, in 2012 they won the Series again and in 2014 they were again world champions. So, every spring is injected with at least a ray of hope that a team will make dreams come true.

Dreams Can Come True

Many people in history have ridden their dreams to spectacular success after many new beginnings led to failures. They kept coming back, determined to make it. Some had to change gears and do something different, but in the end they did what was needed to reach their goals. I have to think that, as a rule, they started each new working plan with optimism and a determination to win the game. Walt Disney was once fired from a newspaper for not being creative enough. Bill Gates started a business that went nowhere, then used his passion for computers and his vision to create Microsoft. Oprah Winfrey overcame a very rough start in life, suffered through multiple firings, but was resilient enough to begin again and again until she created a brand that made her a household name.

May we embrace whatever openings brighten our days and be open to the experiences they bring us.