The Beauty of Impermanence

September 15, 2019

The beginning of our time living in Costa Rica begins very soon. It is quite exciting, and I’m sure it will be a life-altering experience. Living in a culture and situation that is different from that of which we are accustomed to very often has the effect of changing our perspective on how we live our lives and what we understand as reality.

I’m very much looking forward to the experiences and perspective-shifts that are headed our way. However, in looking back, this past year has already been a big giant perspective-shifter. The way I experience and perceive life has already undergone a huge transformation. 

The way the light shines is fleeting and changes how we perceive where we are

Really, it began with my mom. 

During the time of my mom’s illness and after her passing, my understanding of the impermanence of everything in this life has deepened. 

While I, of course, wish my mom didn’t have to pass on for me to learn this lesson, learning this lesson has been so incredibly freeing. 

It’s changed everything.

It’s what prompted and allowed me to convince John to quit his job and come on this journey. 

The path we take shapes our story.

Nothing is permanent. We aren’t guaranteed ten years to do this whenever we feel we’ve made it to the point where we’re “allowed” to finally take a risk like this. If we have a dream or desire to go after, there’s no time like the present to begin planning for it. “Some day” is not a plan.

Nothing is permanent. If we go and discover where we were is where we want to be, we can return. It doesn’t need to be forever, but we won’t know how we will grow and transform by wondering from the perceived comfort of our safe and known life. The only way to know is to go.

Our time with our kids is limited. Making the days, weeks, months, and years count will make all the difference.

Nothing is permanent. Even if we were to have stayed, life was still changing. By clinging to what is safe and comfortable, we think we can stop change from happening. However, change is happening all around us. If we weren’t shaping our lives in an intentional way, in a way that resonated with the dreams and visions we held for ourselves, the change would be reactionary to the events and circumstances around us. Living that way means a life of conflict between the vision we hold of our lives relative to our unintentionally created reality.

At the beginning, this journey seemed like such an extreme and big risk to John. He hadn’t had the same intense life experience that I did that also gave me the big lesson. Deep down, he could understand the necessity for our family to make a change and the potential benefits that could come with the plan that I laid out, but it takes a big leap of faith to surrender. 

We don’t get to live by staying within our comfort zone.

We want to believe that we have some sort of control over our future by simply staying put. We don’t though. Nothing is permanent.

Beyond allowing me to decide to make this move happen and getting John on board, understanding impermanence changed how I lived my day-to-day life.

We lived in Corvallis for five years before departing on this journey, and the last year there was definitely the richest and most rewarding of those five years. I would even say it was probably one of the best years of my adult life. 

That feels a bit weird to say after my mom passed away. But, understanding how impermanent life is allowed me to begin to actually live. I can say that prior to this, I was somewhat sleepwalking through life.

When I see birds, I’m reminded of my parents and that they believe in my ability to “fly”… to be able to explore, dream, and view the world through a different lens.

I miss my mom dearly, but I honor her by not wasting anymore of my life. That shift resulted in a year of deep feeling, connection, appreciation, and gratitude.

Having this move planned allowed me to feel on a cellular level the beauty that which was already in my life. Knowing that the life as I knew it was impermanent (we only had nine more months there), I soaked it all up. I jumped at opportunities. I took opportunities to connect with others. I appreciated the people that presented themselves to me. I didn’t put off taking action for another day. I understood my time in my old home and community was limited, and that inspired me to make the most of it. 

As they grow, individually and with relation to one another, the everchangingness of life is obvious and unavoidable to ignore.

Staying present in that life while still planning for our future journey was something in the forefront of my mind. It could have been easy to simply focus on moving on to life’s next phase, and I would have missed out on so much joy and so many insights and connections.

The concept of impermanence used to frighten me. I wanted to eat healthy out of fear of not living a long life. I used to cling to the known to feel some sort of control over my future.

What we do know shapes the shoes they’ll fill in the future.

However, understanding now that nothing is permanent, I can worry less about unfavorable situations and appreciate and honor the beauty of the moment I am in. The bad will pass. The good will be savored. I can appreciate the beauty of the present and trust that more beauty will come. 

As we spend these next few days stressing over how we pack up for this next journey, I needed this reminder. That which we worry about is just temporary. There is beauty in today that I will make sure to appreciate because it too will pass. Tomorrow’s beauty will be different.

Experiencing nature is a constant reminder of impermanence. How we see it now is a snapshot of its continuous transformation. Appreciate that instance because it is uniquely special.

Hi! I'm Amanda.

I write about my journeys through living abroad and the healing and growth opportunities through these experiences.

If you're looking to make a move abroad, I can support and guide you to make that happen.