W. Somerset Maugham, the popular British playwright, once said, “Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.”
There are a few things in life that I desire with all my heart to last forever: the magnificence that is the planet Earth, the smiles and laughter of all of my dear ones, and the unfathomable bond of love that I share with them. But as goes one of the more profound philosophies that we are taught while we grow up, nothing lasts forever.
When I brood over the fact that one day, all the astounding beauty that we are surrounded with, all the trees and the plants and the effervescence of the flowers, and every other aspect of life that we see around us every day, is going to die and decay, it fills me with an overwhelming sadness. It is imminent that there will arrive a day when everything shall dissolve into meaninglessness, and nothing shall be left behind but a distant echo, the resounding silence after the thunderstorm. Each grain of sand falling down to the other side of the hourglass slowly engulfs the moment that we desperately cling on to, until there is no sand left to fall.
However, this sadness is followed by an almost life-altering comprehension that the real beauty of a moment rests in its transience, and not in its permanence. Oh, so this is what a true ‘Eureka’ instant feels like. Awesome.
Anyway, the Law of Transience can be proved with an example that I am hoping a majority of us might easily relate to. When a person falls in love, they obviously feel happier than they remember ever being before. But there is also an underlying feeling of gloominess and melancholy that accompanies the ecstasy and the state of contentment that they are encompassed within. The reason behind this is because they know, somewhere deep within themselves, that this is not going to last forever.
Not because they don’t believe in the relationship itself, but because no matter how long the relationship lives for, it will one day end. They feel nostalgic over something that they haven’t really lost, yet. The transience of their life is clearer and more recognizable than ever when they experience the sentiment of love.
So, how do they respond to this? Do they begin to wish for a Time-Turner that would help them to retrace their steps so that they could live the most beautiful minutes or even seconds of their lives once again? Do they take this in their stride and love the other person harder, squeeze them tighter and promise never to let go unless they really, really have to? Or do they choose the easier path – or tougher, depending on the way you wish to look at it – and detach themselves from every human being they care about, knowing that one day, they will all be taken away from them?
I think I will prefer to side with Simone Elkeles, who says, “If there’s one thing I learned, it is that nobody is here forever. You have to live for the moment, each and every day . . . the here, the now.” My mind and my heart scream in unison, for once, that we must make stronger attempts to eternalize the greatest moments of our lives through our songs and our films and our poetry, trusting that they would continue to exist even when we cease to.
I believe that we must, at every stage, embrace the Law of Transience by loving harder not only the people that surround us, but even our own selves. We must hold on to each other a little tighter, and make every effort to prolong that moment to infinity.
Write the story you have been forming in your head for far too long now because you don’t think you are ready to actually sit down and put it to words. Run the marathon you have been meaning to run because if you won’t this time, you won’t the next time, either. Be afraid of the fact that everything is going to end, and this is your one chance to do something truly extraordinary, for yourself as well as for humankind.
Just don’t detach yourself. From people, from things, from goals and dreams. Apathy never created history, now, did it?