Fact: nothing lasts forever. Right?
I recently watched a movie that talked about impermanence, which is essentially the fact that the only thing constant is change. This is something that everyone more or less knows to be true. It’s something we have always known our entire lives… things will always change. So how does one find happiness through the change?
The idea and philosophy behind impermanence made me really start thinking about the things that I personally hold on to. I accept that things change, in fact, I even promote change quite frequently with my whole moving across the country every few years. But what I don’t accept change or inconsistency in is people, and the fact that they will change, or I will change, and sometimes that means that person just isn’t meant to be in my life anymore. What happens then, is I harp on the sadness. The loss, the grief, the ripping away of something that I knew to be true that is no longer true.
I harp on the sadness. The loss, the grief, the ripping away of something that I knew to be true that is no longer true.
I think in order to break this cycle, I have to change the way I think about impermanence overall, and learn to embrace it. There are a lot of Buddhist teachings on impermanence that I started reading up on – what Buddhists refer to as annica. The idea that everything vanishes. Things are vanishing from our lives right now, and we don’t even realize it. Sometimes it’s bigger, it’s profound, and we really feel it. But sometimes, it’s something small, a wisp, that slips away on the breeze, and sometimes we don’t even notice. But when we do, oh, when we do.
It hurts you. It rattles you. It brings up questions.
No matter what this thing is, this thing that has left you, you have to figure out why, and how, and where do you go from this point. Is it positive? Maybe. Maybe the why and how is because you brought about a change that you needed in your life, and now you can start a new chapter. But maybe it’s something that was taken from you. A lost loved one. A relationship. A lifestyle. All of these things are happening to everyone in the world every single day, and I still find myself unable to let go of so many things. Unable to let go of the things that “were” and what those things “could have been.”
Sometimes these things just need to be left behind as memories. This is where I struggle. I live in the future, and I am always thinking about the “what if” instead of the “enjoy right now.” Enjoying right now means you are making memories, and these memories are something that can carry you through the inevitable change that will happen. By living in the future, I’m limiting how much of these memories I can enjoy by focusing on what kind of memories I could potentially have, one day, if only. But I don’t know the future, and I can’t control it. How do you learn to let go of the things you can’t control?