The grueling, crushing gasp for air as you try to finish another lap around the track.
The warm embrace of your partner.
The dreaded staff meeting.
Your friendship with a best friend in high school.
The grief felt when mourning the loss of a loved one.
Nothing Lasts Forever
Some things we wish would last forever, while others we can’t wait to end. And still others we wonder if we’ll ever manage to escape.
As we live day to day, we find that most things in life exist in the middle, neither off-the-cuff exciting nor mind-numbingly boring. We’re given a mixed bag that’s more often than not, doable, but not always desirable. And this mixed bag is made up of fleeting moments, each adding a patina to our core long after the moment is over and we’re consumed by a new instance of the present.
Knowing that nothing will last forever is a bittersweet pill to swallow, but it’s also an elixir that can help us overcome the vilest of foes we give birth to ourselves. Being mindful of the transitory nature of each scene we play a role in, whether as the main actor or as extras, helps us overcome fear, thoughts of self-doubt, pain, and harbored negativity. It helps us appreciate our circumstances and the people in our lives. “This, too, will end. This, too, will not last forever.”
Those friends or even acquaintances whose opinions seemed to matter so much may not matter anymore. The shame and pain we thought might cripple us and leave its residue on everything we touch may have diminished or disappeared altogether. The tasks that we so strongly avoid often don’t end up being so bad.
Nearly everything in life is inconstant. Ephemeral. Changing. That is why it is important to approach life from an attitude of growth and a mindset for learning. As lifelong learners and observers, we ought to add richness to our character and our breadth of experience because that is what we will carry with us towards the next opportune yet fleeting moment. All else will fade.
Life is About Learning
It is far better to take life for what it really is: a long period of learning. Learning how to learn. Learning how to do things. Learning how to love others. Learning about how we came to be. Learning how to overcome.
So while we may not be able to avoid playing a role in a certain scene of life or must endure through others to accomplish our goals, we can decide what we will take away from those moments as learning experiences. We can enter into them with a proactive aim to learn something, to prune and chisel out our character. To grow into stronger, more capable, more compassionate human beings.
Anything else that doesn’t serve that purpose? Let it go.
Pay no mind to the fear. The self-doubt. The desire to wallow in feelings of resentment. Yes, it is there, but so what? Such feelings and thoughts are an innate part of our nature, but we don’t have to give life to them. Their presence helps us grow and are like patches we add to a coat of honor, but they should not impede how we live. Or rather, perhaps they ought to contribute with even greater conviction, to greater courage.
Carry Only That Which Moves You Forward, Which Gives You Strength
The key is to recognize that you are in control of what you allow to affect you, to drag you down, lift you up, or keep you in the same place you were yesterday. Knowing that nothing lasts forever greatly helps us in this pursuit. Inevitably some things will hit you hard, seemingly out of nowhere. They will anger you, and frustrate you, and might bring you to tears. But you decide how you will respond, which thoughts you will focus on, which emotions will help foster or fester. And even those will not last forever.
And no one follows you into death. No one else shares your body. It is just you, and you alone.
Remember that sober thought when you go through each interaction, each struggle, each “boredom”, each joy.
Nothing lasts forever…
But you can decide what you will carry with you.