I have heard my entire life that people are in your life for a “reason, a season or a lifetime.” However, I’ve noticed that, in this generation, no one seems to care about the reason or the season, but we all cling to the idea of things lasting for a lifetime: phrases like “best friends forever” and “I’ll love you forever,” pop culture’s obsession with immortal beings like vampires and our constant need to post everything for posterity. But the fact remains that nothing is forever — not friendships, not relationships, not even we are forever.
So why do we want everything to be forever? Why are we so opposed to the idea of oblivion, or simply living in the moment? What is so wrong about “YOLO”-ing our way through life? I would argue that we are so afraid of lack of control in life, that we fight for everything to be “forever.” Even I have become a victim of trying to make every friendship I have last forever, even if it can’t or shouldn’t. Sometimes it’s no one’s fault if a friend loses dedication or interest, and other times it turns out that your friendship was surface-level to begin with. I used to think that if friendships didn’t last my entire life, they weren’t valuable or were a waste of time, but there is a reason you meet certain people, even if those people later become distant memories.
Even if I was warned that these friendships wouldn’t last forever, I never believed it. As I was entering high school, the seniors told the freshmen that the friends we started high school with would not be the friends we ended with. I couldn’t believe them. I had just become friends with the coolest girl I’d ever met: She had a voice exactly like Amy Winehouse and wore combat boots in the summer. We were instantaneously BFFs. We were really close the first semester of freshman year, but, by the time I graduated, I hadn’t talked to her in nearly a year and a half. There was no big fight, no betrayal, no cinematic montage of importance. That was the first friendship I ever had that disappeared unnoticed. But I still think about her all the time because we were supposed to be forever. Even now, we post pictures of each other on our birthdays, like our friendship holds some permanence.
Losing friends is a part of life and sometimes it is desperately needed. When you lose a friend, even a best friend, you learn more about your boundaries, your reflective skills and who you want to be. But losing friends hurts, and losing best friends feels like you are losing a part of yourself. When things don’t last forever it can feel like everything is falling apart.
So trust me: I get wanting things to last forever, especially when it comes to relationships (romantic and platonic). I mean, we are the first-ever “immortal generation.” We will live on the internet forever young and by the time our butts sag, there will probably be technology built for us to be alive forever, just like a Black Mirror episode. But do we really want to live forever? Do we want every best friend to be “forever”? Every vampire I have ever adored, from Edward Cullen to Stefan Salvatore, says that being alive forever is tiring and that immortality is not what it’s cracked up to be.
So let’s get comfortable with one day being a distant memory. With having an array of best friends, each perfect for the version of ourselves we are for that season. One of the greatest things about life is that we get to have a character arc — we get to grow and change and evolve, but that doesn’t happen if we think we are permanent. The best thing about not having a “forever” is that every moment matters. Every failed relationship is a participation trophy and every relationship that lasts until the end is golden. But most importantly, not having forever means that time is limited. Whether someone is in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime, they can still bring value, meaning and something perfectly impermanent.