When coming to grips with a sudden change in life, some people feel the need for closure in order to move on. But is it really necessary?
Life can change very quickly, in ways both trivial and profound. You might lose a job, there might be a death in the family, or an appliance you depend on may stop functioning.
When a change like this happens, a natural instinct is to look for some closure. That might mean, respectively, an exit interview, a memorial service, or a repairperson’s visit. Once the closure happens, you can move on with your life.
However, closure is not something that occurs in our lives. We are born into a world that is already in motion, and as we grow and learn, we have to get up to speed on the state of things (and pick up some history as well).
Even when we meet someone new, we come in the middle of their story. And if they drift away, as friends sometimes do, there isn’t usually any sort of meaningful end point.
There is little doubt, though, that as a species we crave the sense of narrative completion. We look for it in the movies we watch, the books we read, and in other media we consume. A disappointing finale can ruin an entire TV series.
So which is it? Is a sense of closure necessary to process the events of the day? Or is it irrelevant, just an artificial narrative we construct that has no inherent meaning?
How important is closure?