Everything Fades

“Everything I was and accomplished,” she said, “is dead and gone.”

Her words, not mine.

For years I’d noticed a change in her. Since cancer, since moving, since life. And it was this; whoever she was, she wasn’t anymore. And she was okay with that.

A collegiate basketball player who went on to be a successful athlete and business owner — ambitious, respected, concerned with climbing the ladder — and now this, someone I hardly recognized.

Her words struck me like I was glass, and she was a boulder. What was the last truth you heard you weren’t ready for?

Everything fades.

Everything you were disappears. Even if you don’t want it to. No matter how hard you try to hang on.

“The time is at hand when you will have forgotten everything.” Marcus Aurelius said. “And the time is at hand when all will have forgotten you. Always reflect that soon you will be no one, and nowhere.”

I fought the revelation at first. It scared me, cut me.

As I processed, the wiser she became, and the more I wondered, “why try at all?”

Then I remembered the work. And no matter what might be forgotten, I enjoy it. I like the effort. I’m addicted to the high. Even if my return is impermanent, so am I.

“We have a right to our labor,” Krishna instructs Arjuna in The Bhagavad Gita, “but not to the fruits of our labor.”

There’s immense freedom there. I wondered what starting every day from scratch would feel like.

Would my old pal anxiety interrupt as much, or at all?

Would I stress over the future, or would I pour everything into today and let the chips fall where they may.

Would I remember the past with regret, self-loathing, and bitterness, or would I appreciate the lesson learned?

Everything is temporary except work. With work comes acceptance. And acceptance is one step closer to liberation.

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Josh Bunch

Josh Bunch

Bunch is one of those rare humans who only talks about what he knows; fitness, food, philosophy, and movies. And puppies.