I’m feeling the pains of growing older.

One constant fact of life is that life does not slow down for anyone; regardless of where you are in life, the clock ticks all the same. Resuming my junior year in college, I am feeling the relentless of time propelling me in twenty different directions. The great irony of life is that with its relentlessness comes an even greater sense of uncertainty.

More so now than before, I am realizing how the things that were so seemingly permanent in my life are actually quite fleeting. Ephemeral. Yesterday they are here to stay, and tomorrow they are gone without a sign.

The best thing that I can do, then, is to cherish these impermanent qualities of my life when they seem permanent. Life, in the end, is a culmination of memories stacked on top of each other, like Jenga. In the past year, I have experienced the impermanence of home, relationships, academic studies, and my identity. It’s laughable, just how certain I was of my choices, of my surroundings, of my social circle. Who am I to be so sure of my life without possessing any sort of clairvoyant ability?

I do not want to be self-critical, however. Of course, it’s good to have conviction in the things I do and the friends I have – we’re taught to be confident of ourselves. There is a point, however – and I think I am experiencing this juncture in my life right now – when everything that we were indoctrinated with shatters. Call it a post-modernist outlook on life, if you will. The only thing I am sure of is the fact that I am unsure of everything.

I am not downtrodden by this new revelation. I believe it’s just a phase one goes through in growing up and embracing reality. Because reality is impermanent, life, as a consequence, is impermanent. A feeling of liberation overcomes an individual once they acknowledge said impermanence. Life, finally, does not seem uni-linear: it starts looking like what it’s supposed to look like, a hundred rays of diffracted sunlight, all heading down the path of who-knows-where.

The Caffe Bene in Koreatown New York, where I am typing up this blog post, is louder than when I first walked in. The gentle sound of people conversing, which initially provided a nice ambiance, is quickly turning into a cacophony of K-Pop music, over-the-top study group conversations, and obnoxious laughter. Even within this space, I don’t feel annoyed; in fact, I am enjoying this uncoordinated ruckus. Maybe it’s because I know I am just a passerby, that these people will never know of my existence, that I am a part of this space along with others sitting around me, that the space I belong to in this very moment is nothing more than a sliver of impermanence I will experience in my life.

Or maybe it’s just a part of growing up.