Now Is Not Forever

tuolumne grove sequoias yosemite

I have a Google document named Quotes sitting in the middle of a bunch of other random folders and docs in my Google Drive. I started it a couple of years back when I got too overwhelmed with all of the quotes I wanted to remember. I also have an digital sticky note on the desktop of my computer named Quotes, which is usually where quotes I like go to live until I can transfer them to the Google document. I also have a Pinterest board named Palabras (which is Spanish for "words"), full of articles and cute little Instagram-worthy squares filled with song lyrics and thoughts and quotes and poems that are either too long or too graphically pretty to simply copy and paste. 

I like quotes a lot.

I mention all of this because I was trying to find a good quote to include on the photo above; something short and succinct that I could write out neatly in pretty white letters that would make me seem wise and all-knowing before I actually start saying words. I searched that digital sticky. I scanned the Google doc. I perused Pinterest. I couldn't find anything.

parker lake trail june lake loop

I'm pretty sure I didn't make up "now is not forever" on my own. It's gotta be something I read somewhere, but I can't recall its origins. I found the draft of this post sitting in a long line of other drafts on my blog; I appear to have created it sometime this past October. I have no idea what I was going to say in it, but apparently it's a common theme in my life, because it's been on my mind again lately, so the timing of my discovery was perfect. 

Now is not forever. 

This can either be a good or bad thing, depending on your situation in life. There are moments that I wish would never pass, when I am blissed out beyond reason and ecstatic to be alive. Then come the off-days, when I wonder if the feelings of utter confusion and unstableness are going to last for the rest of my life, like David felt after he went to the dentist: "I feel funny...why is this happening to me? Is this going to be forever?"

"No", his dad laughs, chuckling cruelly at his son's existential crisis, "No, it won't be forever". 

june lake eastern sierra mountains

It's incredibly easy to get carried away in a mood or a frame of mind, to forget that as with all things, this too shall pass. No matter how well you know that phrase, and how many times you've experienced's still hard to imagine the light at the end of the tunnel when you're mired down in the messy muck of it all. 

There was a time when I looked at other people and wondered why none of them were struggling as much as I was. I know better now. Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Some, myself included, feel the effects of those battles more acutely than others, and I used to think this was a weakness, a kind of lack of strength to barrel through and feel instantly okay again. I would share my fears and sadness with others and then immediately regret it, assuming that by letting those very real, human parts of myself out into the world, I was now somehow less desirable, less of a person. 

It took me a long time to realize that everyone feels that way (they just aren't talking about it), and that to admit to having those emotions is actually a form of true courage. Vulnerability is power, and the people who say otherwise are the ones who lack strength. 

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I find comfort in knowing that at the age of fifty, whatever is happening in my life right now will seem like a distant dream. I cannot even fathom where I will be in twenty two years (much less two months), or what my life will look like. I know what I want it to look like, but I also know that the control I have over the outcome of my desires is incredibly slim. I can work hard and move in a direction I think is correct, but there are other forces at play, other people also choosing to move in their own directions, and sometimes life doesn't turn out the way you want. Hell, sometimes you're not even sure of what you want until it's too late. 

Life is an unpredictable, gorgeous disaster. The fantastic part of it, and what keeps me going, is that we are all in it together. None of us knows what we're doing; we're all making it up as we go along. This is the unspoken truth of life that adults cleverly keep hidden from kids so that they can grow up and learn it the hard way just like everyone else. It is beautiful, it's our humanity, and hardly anyone ever talks about it. 

What's left when all is said and done is to embrace the now, in all of its heartbreak and glory, knowing that each moment is fleeting, and that being alive is ridiculously worthwhile. Now is not forever. Not even forever is forever, because our time here is finite. Life is short. YOLO is real, whichever way you want to look at it.

=] Happy Wednesday, friends.