How to live and thrive in permanent impermanence
Some people, never leave their childhood home, their street or their country. There are thousands more, who blissfully spend their lives, gathering memories, living in the same neighborhood they grew up in since childhood, and never have an impulse or desire to go anywhere else. I unfortunately (or fortunately) am not one of those people. I have moved into and out of almost 20 houses and apartments, 3 countries, and two continents, ( and counting) since I was a child, and currently call New York my home. After arriving here and sleeping in and on every bed and couch I could find; I settled in (it found me) a place I could really call home. This to a person who lived out of suitcase for almost 2 years upon arriving in New York was like an oasis in a real estate desert.
I’ve made my home here, I’ve made and lost friends here and after six years I realized (again), that absolutely nothing is permanent. Much like nature sheds its winter coat and welcomes spring; newness, renewal and re- calibration happens in our lives every day whether we notice or not. There will be moments (too many to count) where what was; is no longer and the more accepting we are of that reality, the less painful transitions and changes will become.
Yet we know that impermanence is allusive. Within our understanding that nothing is forever, we still get attached, connected and dependent on the idea that what is here today will absolutely be there tomorrow. Having grown up in Greece, where impermanence is our “soup du jour”; as part of our national identity we’ve learned to deal with massive and often destructive changes in our lives, and most recently in the last 10 years. What comes to mind when grappling with the lack of permanence in my life I tend to consult sage Greek sayings.
Greeks often sum up the permanence of impermanence with this phrase: ουδέν μονιμότερον του προσωρινού (nothing is more permanent than impermanence) . I find that for the uncertainty that has become the norm, keeping a healthy understanding of Non- Attachment, while enjoying what we have in the present moment, can alleviate the idea of “forever”.
Till then enjoy what you have now and don’t take anything for granted.
Featured Image by Filmmaker/Photographer: Alexandros Maragos