This moment is not an ending
We often fight fluidity in life. We unnecessarily set ourselves to the constant task of compartmentalizing each moment as though it stands alone, and we exhaust ourselves emotionally in this.
All we have to do is understand that things exist even if we don’t see them. Things change even if they are one way now. And we are all a part of this.
We love to laugh at babies’ before they develop what some call “object permanence” — “the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be observed (seen, heard, touched, smelled or sensed in any way.)”
It’s the concept behind “peek-a-boo,” and why the game is so amusing (for both parties, let’s be honest.)
“Jean Piaget, the Swiss psychologist who first studied object permanence in infants, argued that object permanence is one of an infant’s most important accomplishments, as, without this concept, objects would have no separate, permanent existence.”
Babies are funny.
Everything changes with time.
Just like object impermanence in babies, there’s a thing adults do where we think everything that’s happening right now will go on forever. (I’m pretty sure there’s a phrase for this in psychology — someone help me out?)
Earlier this year, I dismantled my business and started job hunting. I had more or less already chugged my way through the savings I wanted to spend, like some little spend-engine that could, in the year and a half of building and running the business, so I started bartending to make ends meet while interviewing. (And then ended up liking it so much I didn’t stop once I got an offer.)
When I started bartending, my parents were —in a word — “horrified.” I don’t think either of them would admit to that word, but you could hear it in their forced, backhanded cheerfulness when they told people, “my daughter is so smart — and she’s working as a bartender.”
And I understand their feelings there — I’m college-educated, steadily worked my way up in business and then had that stint with my own. I get it.
But my feelings on the matter were that it was both funny and sad, because they obviously failed to appreciate that this was a phase — a mere stepping stone in my journey. To be fair, they recognized the running truths of my character, but they also struggled to reconcile between “right now” and “forever.”
The reality is: everything changes. And “this too shall pass.”
If nothing is permanent, it behooves us not to evaluate it as its current point in time as though it’s the end.
You can’t judge any event as an “end” in a way. Real life isn’t school. Nothing is objectively good or bad, and there are no clean break-points at which to be evaluated.
Today always bleeds into tomorrow. And whether the day was good or bad, “there are a million effects which can arise from one event. Good and bad are interconnected. They are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. If things seem perfect, they aren’t. If it seems like it’s Armageddon in your corner of the world, it’s not. Things can change in an instant, at all times. And they will at some point or another.”
And if things are ever-changing and fluid even in the moment, it is both futile and fatiguing to assess them as though objectively — to constantly stand back and try to weigh whether our situation is good or bad. It’s both. It’s neither. It’s something that escapes clean-cut judgment.
It’s as exhausting as it would be to stand in the middle of a rushing river and trying to catch handfuls for inspection.
Happiness is appreciating this truth and existing in a way that moves with life, allowing it to flow freely and understanding that all things change, and there’s more to it around the next bend.