Remember: It’s Only Temporary
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)
- Misplaced keys
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?
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