We may never say “never” but we are forever saying “forever”. John Keats two hundred years ago, in his “Endymion”, went on to say that a thing of beauty “will never pass into nothingness”. But everything does – including even diamonds, in spite of the ads. They, and much else that we treasure and admire will outlast us, but like us will find one day that their existence too is finite. Legends (like you and I) live on. Maybe our books and blogs will too – for a while, but certainly not forever. Hopefully our children will live long and happy lives, but P.D. James’ beautiful phrase, “Parenthood is, after all, our only chance of vicarious immortality”, remains poetic license.
“Limits liberate” is a slogan I invented for my seminars on Time Management. It is the only answer to the vice of procrastination, and a salutary discipline to be practised in meetings, speeches, interviews, phone conversations and blog-posts. But it applies just as well to periods of misfortune, suffering, illness and life itself : sooner or later they all end. (Even Trump’s presidency will, one way or another … , end.)
You and I, and even our sub-species, Homo sapiens sapiens, will one day cease to exist. It makes sense to accept this reality rather than indulge in the impossible dream. Immortality is limited to the gods we invented. But as long as we, and the things of beauty around us, last, let’s make the most of the time we have and the joy they give us.