5: everything is transient.

by Michael King

20somethings5

I remember, at fifteen, the night our Driver’s Ed instructor stood at the front of the class and begged us to take a good, hard look at the ‘invincibility complex’ of the teenage years. Driving recklessly is a fatal act, I’m sure she was trying to say, even for those of us facing seemingly infinite futures.

It is perhaps because the twenties follow the teens that I say this, but the impermanence of everything has never been more evident to me than in my twenty-something years. Maybe, as we make a break with these notions of immortality, we must also begin to accept the realities of impermanence. We are fragile, and time is fleeting. Here’s what awaits you in our twenties, my friends:

The friends you went to high school with? They’re going to move, start families, begin careers, and become different people (if they haven’t already). You’ll still ‘like’ some of their stuff on social media, but the gulf between your worlds will remain.

The holiday meal you always spend with your Dad’s side of the family? That’s getting cumbersome, with generations of people squeezing past one another in a house, and it’s only a matter of time until your parents and aunts and uncles look at each knowingly, nodding in agreement that ‘this is the last one.’

Your favorite local pizza place? Ol’ Joe is looking to retire and move to sunny Boca, so it’s going to be renovated into a Quizno’s, which – despite making steam emerge from your ears – will please the youths. (Do the youths still like Quizno’s?)

As your twenties pick up, as you exit school and enter your first and second jobs, you’ll likely change scenery and the cast of characters in your life will evolve. There may be a few constants, but most of your friends’ lives were meant to intertwine with your own for just a moment. Life keeps moving, pushing, changing the world around you.

And that’s what we learn: Nothing is forever, least of all us. We are here for an unspecified and unguaranteed amount of time, and all the dreams we concocted in our invincible years start to look a bit like hourglasses. Which ones matter? Follow those, but don’t hustle too hard: You won’t get the world, as it is, for very much longer.

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