ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why is everything in Life Temporary?

Updated on May 19, 2016

Check out my new book

I recently published my first book. The link below will take you to a hub that provides more details, including links to where it can be bought.

Here's a great song about our transitory lives

Why is Everything in Life Temporary

A while ago, I went to my parents' home to do a little house sitting while they were gone on vacation. They live in the same house today where I grew up, not ten minutes from where I live now. (I have come far!) On some level, this place will always be home. As I sat in this empty house, I found myself thinking of the day when my parents will no longer live in it. It’s hard for me to imagine this anchor no longer being there. It would be like the sun not coming up. After all, from my perspective, it has been my parents’ eternal home.

My mom and dad both turned 70 within the past year. Birthdays are the holidays more than any other that measure the passage of time. They are the only days - other than wedding anniversaries - that are defined by a number. (No one ever says that they are celebrating their forty-seventh Christmas or their twenty-eighth Arbor Day.) It wasn’t too long ago that seventy was an age that I only associated with grandparents. It was also roughly the age of three of my grandparents when they died.

My wife and I are at that age where we are sandwiched between caring for young children and worrying about aging parents. The mortality of our parents was driven home like a knife over this past year. My wife’s dad was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago, and he lost this battle at the end of March. Shortly after her father was diagnosed, my dad entered the hospital to get open-heart surgery. As often happens in life, her dad’s health deteriorated while my father recovered very nicely. As we watched her dad take his last breaths a few months ago, I thought of how I would react if one of my parents was lying there.

We all know that everything in life is temporary, and we deal with this reality in different ways. Some reassure themselves through faith in some sort of a positive afterlife to come for themselves and their loved ones. Some try not to think about death, fighting it off by taking steps to appear or feel eternally young or distracting themselves with the concerns of everyday life. I have fluctuated between all of these states of mind at different times in my life. At the moment, however, I am unaware of any conception of an afterlife that makes any sense, and when tragedies occur, the reality of death becomes unavoidable.

So why does everything have to be temporary? For nostalgic people like me who can see on a daily basis the places and people that are so closely associated with every event in my life, the passage of time, and the inevitability of death and deterioration, are constantly in my face. I would prefer that certain people and things last forever. And for a person who spends his life teaching history, I am well aware of how forgotten both myself and my world will be in the not so distant future. An atheist would argue that there is no answer to this question. Life just is what it is. Many religious adherents would say that the temporary nature of life should drive you to focus on the ultimate spiritual reality that will guide you eventually to an eternal home.

Now I don’t know if there is any kind of a divine plan. If there is, the planner(s) has not made it particularly clear. So is there any reason why some sort of a creative force(s) would just leave us hanging, stuck pondering the great questions of life? Why did he (or she or it) create us to live with the possibility that we might ultimately be snuffed out? For the sake of argument, I am going to assume that there is a divine plan that the creative force(s) has chosen to keep somewhat secret. I am also going to assume that this force(s) has positive motives and is not just creating some playthings to use for entertainment. If we were guaranteed of eternal life, would we be able to appreciate life fully? Maybe something can only be truly precious if you know that it will someday be gone.

So often, people convinced that they know the answers to life’s great questions have seemed somewhat smug and callous to me, unable to relate to the the struggles of the rest of us unenlightened mere mortals. By realizing the “truth,” they have been freed from fully experiencing the pain caused by the temporary nature of all things. In my view, by immersing themselves in the “spiritual,” some people lose a certain amount of empathy for those struggling with their humanity. In a sense, “the enlightened” are no longer fully human.

Maybe real joy, sacrifice, ethics, and compassion can only exist in a temporary world filled with pain and uncertainty. After all, if we were given a guaranteed path toward eternal life, then our choice to take that path would be, to some degree, selfish. But if you choose a sacrificial, ethical path without any guarantee of a reward, then you have done something truly selfless. Pain, injustice, and death – and the possibility that this life may be all that we have - stink, but without the things that make life tough, can we ever be truly joyful, compassionate, ethical, and, ultimately, alive?


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • helenstuart profile image

      Helen Stuart 

      3 years ago from Deep in the Heart of Texas

      Why would spiritual laws be lesser than the laws of science. We are both spiritual and scientific beings. Spirit makes you ask these questions. The laws of physics and science declare that energy cannot be destroyed. How then can the much more mysterious and intense spiritual laws be any different. Only truer. Life for most humans is quite long if they work through it. And when physical death comes, neither the body or the spirit is relinquished. Thinkof it like a candle burning out, the candle itself might just be a pool of wax but the flame can be used to light another candle, which in turn can be used to light thousands more.

    • Freeway Flyer profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Swendson 

      5 years ago

      I can't argue with that.

    • profile image

      Anthony Isaac Wells 

      5 years ago

      Because life is temporary!

    • jantamaya profile image

      Maria Janta-Cooper 

      8 years ago from UK

      I like your hub pretty much, like the way you have written... Somebody has told me that there is no time, everything happens at the same time. It's not easy to imagine. Are we growing up and dying at the same time? OK, it is 3 AM time to go to bed, not the best time to write philosophical stuff... Good night :)

    • Anjili profile image


      8 years ago from planet earth, a humanoid

      Hi Freeway Flyer,

      Your hub touches the deeper cores of humanity and its existence on earth. Despite all things, I believe we have a loving and caring creator who longs to cuddle and cushion you against effects of life's trials that we must all go through. nice hub

    • Freeway Flyer profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Swendson 

      9 years ago

      Yes, nothing drives home mentality like the loss of family. I'm not looking forward to the day in the not so distant future when my parents will be gone.

    • 2uesday profile image


      9 years ago

      I like the way you write and I can relate to points you raise in this i.e. the loss of a parent once the pain and shock soften, it can lead to lots of thoughts on mortality and life's journey. Thank you.

    • sujju profile image


      9 years ago from mangalore, india

      u have indeed dived deep into nostalgia...u hav spoken urs n most of our minds with a great degree of precision n very naturally...

      yes its such a mysterious question n a bitter truth...i too hav had such thoughts crossing my mind several times, makes me feel so helpless n weak,tat i cant do anythin about it...beautiful hub

    • Freeway Flyer profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Swendson 

      9 years ago

      I'm not sure if you are talking to me or to AKA Winston. This post was not meant to be necessarily negative or anti-God. Recognizing uncertainty is not the same thing as believing in nothing.

    • profile image


      9 years ago from west palm beach Fl.

      God created us for his own pleasure. To know him, love him and most of all to honor him.If you think that this is all there is to life, I hope you would reconsider! Don't be so negitive about yourself,about the gift of life and the existance of a greater being.

    • profile image

      AKA Winston 

      9 years ago

      (Maybe something can only be truly precious if you know that it will someday be gone.)


      You are right that no one can know the answer, so there is no point in looking to authorities. This realization is what has led many to simply look to rational explantions as the closest we can come to understanding.

      The rational view is that there was no creator, we are simply organic molecules strung together, and when our chemistry fails our bodies cease to function, and we return to the state we occupied prior to birth - nothingness.

      This is a one-shot deal. Best make it a good one.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)