The Bittersweet Beauty of Impermanence

At a young age, my mother taught me an important word; a word I would often forget until it was necessary to remember. A word I didn’t quite understand as a child but would grow to appreciate as the years go on.


It was a daunting word growing up. My mother would go on to simplify it as ‘temporary’: everything changes, and everything has an end.

Impermanence is an important doctrine in the Buddhist philosophy, and an essential one at that. A word, I think, many should try to grasp but only few will truly comprehend it’s meaning. It’s something we see every day, but it’s, also, something we won’t notice. It is the small change in taste of music we listen to. It is the end of a beloved’s life. It is the change in color of the trees as seasons go by. It is the growing puppy we adopted a few months back. It is the new beginning of a special friendship, but it’s also the end of a relationship.

Everything is impermanent.

Nothing lasts forever.

It’s what my mother tried to instill within me, and it’s something I always try to avoid coming to truce with. Because why would the end of anything ever be a good thing?

To be honest, for years, I forgot the word even existed -even though it stared at me right in the face. Twenty-five years old and because my relationship with my boyfriend might be coming to an end, the word manages to resurface itself into my life.

Two years, one month, and six days -how long we’ve been dating before we decided to take a break. For some, it’s very long, and for others, it goes by in a blink of an eye. That’s the beauty of impermanence; it’s relative to every being. And like a cloud in the sky, it’s never the same to each individual.

But for me? Two years, one month, and six days felt like a lifetime. I think back to our first date at a bar where I blew him away with my knowledge and passion in video games. He blew me away the moment he smiled. After that, it became a roller coaster of figuring out who we were and what we wanted. Some days ended in seconds, and others lasted forever.

Time is funny that way.

I’ve learned and changed a lot since then. The Vivian who I once was, isn’t the Vivian I am today. And it took our relationship pretty much ending to really appreciate the said change. I don’t know whether my development is for the better or for the worse, but I know I am not the same person. That’s the beauty of it, for every step gained and every loss suffered, it’s all just a part of this temporary world we live in.

When it all came down to the dreaded ‘we need to talk,’ that was when I finally remembered the word: impermanence. Nothing, good or bad, lasts forever. And, I believe, we all need to take a lesson in learning and appreciating the word for what it is. Because until it can be valued, it will always be taken for granted, much how we took our relationship and our complacency with each other for granted.

We’ve changed since our first encounter, that’s without a doubt. But what we didn’t acknowledge, as things evolved in our relationship, was our mindset. After a while, we grew comfortable, and we became too caught up in what was important to ‘me,’ that we forgot about what was important to ‘us.’

Impermanence taught me that.

For us to grow and adapt, we must accept the shift in each other’s dynamics. Whether it’s supporting each other through our business or spending quality time, every single little detail is important and shouldn’t ever be overlooked.

And though impermanence dictates all things must come to an end, I still have say in when and where it will happen. I still have the power to make the changes necessary to make things work -though, in the end, it will always take two to tango.