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The Nature of Impermanence

A Seasonal Lesson

By: Tessa May


Credit: Redbubble


I cannot think of one thing better than waking up on a late summer morning to find the air a little crisper, the wind a bit cooler, and the leaves a bit darker. As summer comes to an end, we find ourselves yearning for the idea of fall as a whole. The Starbucks menu invites the Pumpkin Spice Latte back into our lives, the humidity level lessens to borderline sweater-appropriate weather, and we can finally rummage through our closets to find those Uggs we desperately needed but hardly ever wear.

Anticipation is in the air. But why?

Why do we now dream about the day we get goosebumps when we step outside? The idea of being cold isn't necessarily an exciting one, yet here we all are, as excited as ever. Perhaps it's not the concept of the season itself that brings us this thrill, but it’s the concept of change. Maybe it is because we spent the season soaking up the warmest time of year, until the newness of it officially wore off, and the days shifted from enjoyable to conventional.

Routine has an inevitable way of getting old. Even though the summertime was something we once longed for during the final moments of spring, here we are welcoming fall with open arms as we happily say goodbye to the last remnants of endless sunshine. Or, in other words, as we happily say hello to change.

Seasons come and go just the same every year, and every time, we find ourselves looking forward to their cycle. Yet it's not the change in weather or clothing layer that makes us feel content, but the change in our life overall. As human beings, change allows us to step out of old mindsets, gain new perspectives, and keep us grounded. We look forward to what new seasons bring because they provide new realities. So, why, then, do we often find ourselves so hesitant to welcome other changes into our lives?

As we enter a new season and school year, we must consider how, just like the nature of our surroundings, our lives are impermanent. No matter who you are, change is like a revolving door rotating in and out of our lives. In the same way you embrace the transformations of seasons, embrace personal, physical, and social ones. As a student, appreciate the habitual breaks and adjustments in life, as they have and continuously will shape us into who we are and who we should hope to become.

Dear Freshmen,

You are currently going through what could quite possibly be the biggest change in your life. As you step out of the only routine you have ever known, you become mentally conflicted. As your excitement and fear battle for takeover, you may be left feeling like you just drank three Celsius and watched a sad movie at the same time. Where you live, who you see every day, and your entire environment has shifted into something completely foreign. But don’t worry — the college lifestyle will soon become a new routine of yours, and you’ll even start to call the new town you live in home (I know, weird, right?) Lucky for you, college life is so hectic that adjusting is usually fostered by distractions. But that's just how change works: it's hard, and it's confusing, but it's inevitable. And it is the only way that you can personally experience growth. Because of this change, you will be offered opportunities, experiences, and memories that will last a lifetime, and you have already taken the right step by just being here. It's bittersweet, and it always will be down the road, but give it some time. Learn to welcome this change, just like it has welcomed you.

Dear Sophomores and Juniors,

Hey, fellow middlemen, and welcome back. Though it may just seem like you have reappeared for season two or three of this insanity, you are by no means not experiencing changes. As we grow, so do our mindsets and perspectives. The reality of actually living here and being on your own has officially set in, and you no longer have the newness of your surroundings to blame everything on. Not to mention that your attachment to FOMO is probably wearing off, and you can finally catch a break from devoting yourself to every social gathering. As weird as it is, that's simply growing up. And though nothing major may change around you this year, you are put to the test to determine your priorities. In other words, you are getting your shit together. Career goals and aspirations begin to make their way into more and more of your conversations, and you will find yourself doing whatever involvement necessary to reach them. Though the college routine is settling in, you as a person are developing all on your own as you learn to make decisions for the betterment of your future. So try to welcome this change, just as it has welcomed you.

Dear Seniors,

What a long run it has been. Undergrad is almost done, and you are probably experiencing that same jumble of freshmen year emotions all over again, as you, too, are embarking on one of the most essential milestones in your life. Here you are, resume-ready, experience-certified, and involvement-exhausted young adults entering the world. Maybe you know your exact path. Maybe you don't have a clue and need some time. Maybe this isn’t the end of your collegiate time, and you’re staying right where you are. Or, you’re moving thousands of miles away. Whatever it may be, you are officially giving up your undergrad status and moving forward. You are once again letting go of an old lifestyle you have become so accustomed to, but you now know you are ready for this new chapter. It can be scary, but it should not be feared, because fear of change is fear of opportunity. Be willing to welcome this change just as it has welcomed you.

This is the cycle of impermanence: it comes and goes, and it always will.

It does not end here, as your life will always present you with choices. Careers, partners, finances: adjustments in at least one of these are as certain as the transition of seasons. So, as we enter this fall and look forward to all it brings, like cozying up watching Gilmore Girls, making those chemically-delicious pumpkin Pilsbury cookies, or waiting all week for Sunday football, don’t forget how ready you were for change and apply this to your future. We can learn a lot from the nature of our surroundings, including inconsistency. Wherever you may be in your life, living it will never be stagnant. One of life’s constants is change, so don’t forget to welcome it personally just as you welcome it seasonally.


Tessa May is a second-year Online Editorial Writer of Rowdy and an Advertising student at UF. In her free time, she enjoys time at the gym, mindless Pinterest surfing, and creating amazing playlists for her every mood.

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