The impermanence of all things

By Nina Steele 

I am fascinated by life itself. Like many people, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by it all. The cycle of birth and death particularly can be frightening at times. The knowledge that the people we love will one day not be around can be terrifying to say the least. Everything passes eventually. Remember all the doom and gloom about what would happen come the year 2000? How distant it all feels now.

So much has changed since including us as people. I will not recognise myself if I were to face the person that I was then. We are constantly changing and so is everything around us. The excitement before the next holiday, the dinner party, the concert, Christmas, Easter, summer, all gone within a blink of an eye. Yes it can all feel so overwhelming and sad, yet change is what makes life worth it. Imagine if nothing ever changed. What would be the point of it all?

Knowing that nothing last for ever, forces us to enjoy every moment we have. Particularly with the people we love. Whenever I am angry at my husband, the idea that one day one of us will no longer be around is enough to make me forget whatever issue made me angry. It is just not worth it at the end. None of us knows for certain what is around the corner. It is all part of the mystery that is life and that makes enjoying every moment very important indeed.

This is where gratitude comes in. We must be grateful for what we have, for it may not be around come tomorrow, including the person that we are now. We all have elderly relatives and seeing people who were once strong and fit, now needing help with what younger people take for granted, shows how much we should cherish the present moment as opposed to focusing on issues, which when we look back one day, were not worth both our time and energy.

My mother came to visit recently and I was struck by how reduced her mobility has become. Yes it is called old age, but still, I couldn’t help but feel sad at the loss of what once was. And that is the point! Enjoy everything you have while you can. There is no time to waste! You want to look back on your life in old age with fondness at a life well lived, not with regrets at wasted opportunities.

Ultimately, our life is what we make of it. When we made the decision to stop trying for a child, we could have for ever felt sorry for ourselves. Instead, we consciously made the decision to accept that children were never part of our journey and as a result, we are enjoying every moment of our life while we still can.

The impermanence of all things means that each life should ideally be lived to the full, unless one’s circumstances prevent one from doing so. By that I mean people in war zones for example and other parts of the world where people are not free. For everyone else living in relative peace, remember that the person you were yesterday is gone and that today is another chance for you to be a new person and I hope you seize that moment.

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