Several years ago I stumbled onto a journaling practice of composing “better endings,” at first for films whose conclusions I had never liked, then for literature and historical events (e.g. what might have happened if the Titanic had never sunk?). Then I realized I could apply this same principle of creative license to my own Life Story adventures, as could anyone. I began a blog called Better Endings (betterendingsnow.com) to explore this principle of creative re-visioning and discovered it is a rich tool we can use to review and reflect upon any life situation or ambition—past, current or to come—to envision ‘better endings’ scenarios, and to bring those about in our lives.
As a cultural/psychological anthropologist and linguist, I understand how we humans live our lives as episodic and even as epic narratives; we each gradually build our own Life Story that bends and turns in many directions and we construe our own mythic Life Story in terms of Life Themes, Life Chapters, Lessons, Quests, and Purpose or Mission. I like to say that we humans are Homo Narrativus: we experience and tell about our life events as structured narratives, full of meaning, lessons, and import.
For several years I taught a university humanities course—co-taught with a Classical historian, at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs—called Myth, Reason, and Your Life Story. The History professor provided lectures on the history of mythology for 8 weeks, while for the other 8 weeks (students shifted mid-semester to receive both segments), I engaged the class in a Life Mapping process. The Life Path Mapping process (see my resulting book Your Life Path; Skyhorse, 2018) guided the students–in conjunction with lectures on rites of passage, Joseph Campbell’s Hero Cycle, Jungian and more recent archetypal psychology integration techniques, research findings from my own intensive life mapping interview research, and a history of theories of the life course—through a journaling and creative life mapping process that let them review and reflect upon their lives: past, present and to come.
Better Endings: A Guidebook for Creative Re-Visioning (Central Park South Publishing, May 2022) is the next step in the life mapping process I developed in those humanities classes. This book offers the opportunity to “refresh” your life course midstream! I have included journaling pages in this book that allow you to play with the principle of Better Endings ‘re-visioning’: first (for Part One) with film endings, literature and historical events; and then (for Part Two) with critical events and situations of your own Life Story—past, current and to come!
The fun, interesting journaling prompts in Better Endings can help you—as they have for me—to arrive at meaningful closure for some of your life situations and to become un-stuck (!) from considering your current and future possibilities.
“Live Your Dream, Now!” was the through line for my 2018 book, Your Life Path. This new book, Better Endings, (now available in softcover, hardcover and eBook formats from all major book retailers) lets you take the next step in your own Life Story to create the life of your dreams. Better endings…are new beginnings!