Life Isn’t As Serious As We Make It Out To Be
June 11, 2010
This Isn't Actually a Love Story
But in a strange sort of way, love has been one of my greatest teachers of life.
It has taught me patience.
It has taught me compromise.
It has taught me dedication.
It has taught me intimacy.
Not to mention the importance of a snappy comeback.
But perhaps most of all, love has taught me something that no other teacher could quite as eloquently:
Love has taught me impermanence.
We go through life entering and exiting relationships, both romantic and platonic. Our ability to do this relatively frequently has never ceased to amaze me–to have been, at one point, so painstakingly close to someone, only to turn around and hardly know that person at all. I've always found that to be a strange (read: agonizing) phenomenon that I attempt to avoid at all costs–ask any of my poor, tortured exes, upon whom I notoriously force post-relationship friendship that usually involves heavy Facebook stalking and the occasional sarcasm-laden, inside-joke-filled phone call to inquire about the other's well-being.
Yet, as to be expected, there are simply some who cannot go down that path. No matter how hard I try to hold on, for the sake of honoring a bond that was once shared; for the sake of valuing authentic human connection, sometimes it isn't enough. For them, once the romantic element has been removed, all that remains is a hollow abyss, laced with shadows of something that once was–not something that is.
And perhaps they're all the wiser for it. Perhaps I'm the idealistic fool for ever having imagined that where love once was, it will always remain.
Because it doesn't.
As much as we don't like to imagine it this way, what with our promises of forever and our hopeful vows of devotion, sometimes, the truth is that love–whether we like it or not–is impermanent.
Just like most things in life are impermanent. And that's truthfully the point of this post.–
The Value of Impermanence
Contrary to how it seems, the truth is that impermanence is actually one of life's strongest selling points. It's unique value proposition, if you will.
No matter how hard we try to resist change, change is unavoidable. With a few major exceptions, such as death or that red wine stain on your carpet, nothing–nothing–is permanent.
And it's absolutely fantastic.
At first glance, coming to terms with impermanence seems like a depressing idea. However, if we can learn to not only accept, but embrace this idea, our lives can only be improved. By remembering that nothing is permanent, we'll be less hesitant to take risks, for one, which is one of the biggest benefits. For example, I receive numerous emails from hard-working professionals on a regular basis who have either gotten laid-off or are desperately needing a change, but are just lacking the confidence to veer in a new direction. They worry it won't work out, and they'll have thrown away their career. They worry they won't like it as much as they thought they would. They worry that they'll be putting everything in jeopardy. They worry that they're being irrational and senseless. Essentially, they worry they'll fail.
And it rips me to shreds every single time, because I just want to reach out and give them a comforting pat on the back, and then push them as hard as I can and with all my might. Sometimes, all we need is a little nudge.
Because truth be told, if it doesn't work out, so what? You can always, always go back to doing whatever it was you were doing before, because no change is permanent. But if it does work out, you'll only be all the more happy you decided to take the leap.–
Life Isn't As Serious As We Make It Out To Be
When making decisions, we have this disabling tendency to imagine everything in terms of forever and ever. We think that if we don't pick the right career, the right path, the right husband, the right job, the right time to have kids, the right amount to save, that the world will come crashing down around us. All of this pressure that we've built up for ourselves, doesn't exist naturally. We are the ones creating it, and we are the ones perpetuating it
We take our decisions very seriously, and their outcomes even more so. “But what if I do this, and then it doesn't work out?” Contrary to popular belief, the world actually does not end. It keeps going, and we keep going. Life isn't as big of a deal as we make it out to be.
Change is inevitable. Nothing is permanent. Why not use that to our advantage and start taking more positive risks?