Remember: It’s Only Temporary

Bodhi Gerlach

Our youngest child, a boy, is smack-dab in the middle of his Terrible Twos. Over the past month or so, he has come into his own quite nicely in this regard. Why is it that the third child is so unlike the first two? Granted, there are four years in-between he and his sister (our middle child) and time has that unique way of helping you forget life’s day-to-day memories, but my goodness, I NEVER remember the other two being like this.

He oscillates like a sine wave on a steroids between smiles and screaming, happy dancing and hitting, and “I wuv you”s and “I fwustrated”s. His attachment to mom and dad (especially mom) seems to be exponentially increasing rather than waning. Just when we think we might have a quiet night to ourselves, he decides to burn the midnight oil and hang out with us. Even his brother and sister are at their wits end with all the craziness his two-and-a-half-year-old self is mustering.

But as we work to cope with all of this, I’ve taken great care (and a few sessions of counting to ten) to remind myself that this behavior is only temporary — a fleeting period in our family’s life that before we know it will pass like a summer thunderstorm. He will not be this way forever. Our frustrations will undoubtedly provide us with quite a bit of comic relief at some point in the years to come.

The idea that so much in our lives is temporary has really stuck with me though. And to think that so many of us (myself included) attach such great angst or anger or worry or fear to such fleeting things should give us pause. We are draining ourselves emotionally, socially and financially for stuff that will not be with us for our entire lives, hung from our necks like the Ancient Mariner’s dead albatross. How much more living could we embrace by letting go of these things?

With that, I sketched out a small list of other temporary things we would be grateful for remembering as such. Many of these reflect my own personal experiences.

  • A crappy job or dead-end career
  • Dark clouds (literal or figurative)
  • Traffic jams
  • Troubled finances
  • Leaky plumbing
  • A less-than-fruitful gardening season
  • An argument with a friend or loved one
  • Lines at the gas station, pharmacy or grocery store check-out
  • Not being able to find that thing you swore was just here
  • Flowers in bloom
  • Writer’s block or other obstacles to your creativity
  • The meal that didn’t come out just so
  • Changing diapers
  • Potty training
  • Bread dough that won’t rise
  • Stretches of cold, snowy weather (or heat waves)
  • Headaches
  • Misplaced keys
  • Life

It’s a matter of learning the wisdom and insight of this perspective. I, for one, feel like it’s a journey rather than a one-off lesson. It will take time to undo the tendency to attach emotions to these things. Time to cultivate an awareness and appreciation of the temporary nature of so many things. Time to learn how not to be so “fwustrated”.

What have you come to realize is only temporary in this world? How have you worked to cultivate this understanding?

Be well,
Bill

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Comments
2 Responses to “Remember: It’s Only Temporary”
  1. Robin Easton says:

    WOW!! This started out making me chuckle and then just hit me like a ton of bricks with its wisdom and insight. So so powerful. Love the list. YES!! I can relate. And LOVE this part:

    “…so many of us (myself included) attach such great angst or anger or worry or fear to such fleeting things should give us pause. We are draining ourselves emotionally, socially and financially for stuff that will not be with us for our entire lives… How much more living could we embrace by letting go of these things?” WHOA!! That is such potent and grounding truth. Very very wise. This is such fundamental truth and reminder that we ALL need to hear.

    I find it truly amazing that as you raise your children you garner all these insights about life and yourself. But then that is because you are choosing to go through life with your eyes as open as possible. I am very grateful for that choice. It encourages us all to do likewise. I am also grateful for you sharing this with us. With me. Thank you my dear friend.

    I too feel that it is a journey of “un-attaching” to all that is not really us, all that is often not even “real”. Yes, it requires a shift in perception, which you are doing so well here, but I am finding in my own life that it is REALLY worth doing. It can make all the difference in the world. If we can let go of our preconceived notions, attachments, and simply, as you say, be in the moment, and go with the flow of the “journey” as opposed to preset conditions, notions, demands of how it is “supposed” to be or “should” be, we are much more relaxed, happy, healthy and peaceful beings.

    Thank you dear Bill.
    I wish you and your family so MANY wonderful blessings.
    Hugs,
    Robin

    PS: I also LOVED that you made me laugh. I’ve seen kids int he terrible twos. OMG!! LOL!! :) :)

  2. Bill Gerlach says:

    Hi Robin // Thanks so much — glad to have provided a chuckle! I’m almost nine years into being a parent and I continue to learn something new each day. Even when I’ve reached my tipping point (all parents do), I sometimes find myself being able to detach myself, look down on the situation and think that this was meant to be — to teach me the lesson about life and myself — right at this moment. For me, I believe it’s part of the process of finding my true self.

    What you describe though — the letting “go of our preconceived notions, attachments, and simply, as you say, be in the moment, and go with the flow of the “journey” as opposed to preset conditions, notions, demands of how it is “supposed” to be or “should” be, we are much more relaxed, happy, healthy and peaceful beings” — this is what it is all about! Modern culture is framing how things are supposed to be or should be. Rising above and beyond that sets a powerful path in motion.

    Wishing you well!