Imagine you are attending a concert by your favorite artist. You are having one of the best moments of your life and don’t wish for this feeling to pass. But then, the artist announces that the concert has come to an end and they wrap up by saying “all good things come to an end” The first question that comes to your mind is WHY?
Why must good things come to an end?
When did this phrase originate? And
What does this phrase stand for?
We have all felt this way once. It is likely to not want happy moments to end. But they must do.
In this article, I will tell you the meaning, origin, and importance of the phrase “all good things come to an end.” Hopefully, we will together come to accept this harsh truth of life. So, keep scrolling!
The phrase “all good things come to an end” basically means that happiness is temporary. Every moment, every emotion is going to come to an end eventually. It is a reminder of the transitory nature of life. In its essence, this phrase is a blend of joy and grief, where you are happy about a certain memory but sad because it has to come to an end.
Now that you have an idea about this phrase, let us dig deeper to understand it better.
“All good things come to an end”
A phrase expressing the mere idea that good things are temporary and their existence is haunted by the fact that their end is certain. This phrase can be used to convey sorrow, offer a warning, or show acceptance.
This phrase’s existence can be dated back to the 1300s. It was first penned down by English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer. The poet first made use of this idiom in his work ‘Troilus and Criseyde’ which is a tragic tale of two lovers in the ancient city of Troy. The poem is in Middle English and the same version of the current phrase can be found below:
“But at the last, as every thing hath ende,
She took hir leve, and nedes wolde wende.”
- An excerpt from ‘Troilus and Criseyde’ by Geoffrey Chaucer
The phrase has since then been used in everyday communication and has gained its present-day form.
The phrase holds to the nature of life and the existence of time. Every moment is being chased by another moment as we speak. That is essentially the beauty of a moment, of any feeling. It slips through our fingers as it passes, making it that much more precious. Happiness and joy are fleeting, good moments are temporary. The only constant is change and time.
Imagine the time as a child when you tried to catch snowflakes in winters. Each time you held one in your hand, you would feel joy and wonder. But the snowflake melted away almost instantly. No matter how hard you tried, the snowflake was meant to melt away. Good things, like a snowflake, are meant to pass. It is a bitter truth of life and nothing we do can change it. No matter how hard you try to hold on to that one good moment, once it passes, it is gone forever. This is what makes them special.
Why must good things come to an end?
Happiness and Sadness are two sides of the same coin called life. Life is dynamic and unpredictable. Without the bad moments, we wouldn’t know how to appreciate the good ones and vice versa. If good things never ended, they wouldn’t be “good” anymore. It would be a constant state of monotony. Your life will not have anything to acknowledge. You would go through the mundane motions of life with nothing to celebrate. If happiness was never-ending, you wouldn’t ever be able to experience it differently. It is the endings that make you appreciate the moments.
Just like stars cannot shine without darkness, one cannot truly experience joy without sadness.
Let me explain better with an example,
Do you remember summer vacation as a child? You would look forward to it all semester so that you could catch a break from constant homework, exams, and tests. You would make excessive plans and schedule different activities to be done during the holidays. You knew the vacation would last for 2-3 months before you had to go back to school and that is what made them that much more special. They were temporary and you had to make the best of the time you had. So when school started again, you would have a bag full of fun memories with you.
But what if your vacation never ended? What if your entire life was a long vacation with nothing to look forward to? As tempting as it sounds, this kind of lifestyle loses its charm after a while. If each day was a vacation, then simply none of the days would be a vacation anymore. If special moments never ended, they wouldn’t be special anymore, they would become ordinary.
We do not realize the importance of water until we live in a place where it is scarce. We do not appreciate the power of electricity until there is a power cut-off. We don’t even notice how easy our life is because of the internet until the wi-fi router stops working.
Humans are mortal beings for a reason. Their lives are temporary, which pushes them to make each day worth living and achieve what they want. If humans were to achieve immortality, the passing of time would cease to matter. A perfect world would need no improvement. And if all things are perfect, what motivation would we have? Our lives end so that we can make the best out of it in our numbered days on earth. In a similar sense, good things end so that we can truly appreciate their importance in our life. Their fleeting nature is what makes them precious, so we remember the joy we felt in their existence.
Anything and everything that has an end give itself meaning.
How can this phrase be used?
Now that you understand the meaning of this phrase, let’s try to figure out the instances where you can use them in daily conversations.
This phrase expresses a variety of emotions, some of which are given below-
This phrase can be used to express grief or regret over the fact that this great moment has ceased to exist. It is a notion used to express nostalgia over the past and remembering the good times as they were.
“I am sorry that you lost your job! I know you enjoyed working there.”
“Thank you. It has been really difficult, perhaps all good things come to an end”
This phrase can be used in this context to warn someone of the fleeting nature of happiness and good times. It is a reminder that though good things exist today, they are temporary and could disappear at any moment. We must make the best of it and brace ourselves for its end.
“This vacation has been the best I have ever had. I am so relaxed and don’t wish to go back to work!”
“It is natural to feel that way but remember, all good things come to an end. You should prepare yourself for when this vacation ends.”
The given phrase can be used as a way of acceptance and coping to the ending of good things and the onset of bad. It is a bittersweet feeling where you are ready to face the bad moments with courage and hold the memories of the good moments close to your heart.
“I found out about your father’s death. I cannot imagine the loss you might feel.”
“Yes, I miss him very much. But he lived a long and happy life. As they say, good things must come to an end. I pray he rests in peace.”
The silver lining!
ALL things come to an end, not just the good.
Just like joy, sadness is temporary as well. It ceases to exist eventually. When you experience the end of precious memory and the beginning of a bad moment, remember that this too shall pass.
Because such is the nature of life! Life is a cycle and change is the only constant. Nothing is ever meant to last- good and bad alike. And while the end of good things can be unfortunate, it opens the door to new things in life. The end is what gave it the meaning it holds. Though today a good thing in your life has ended, doesn’t mean that no more good will be left. As it has been said- After a hurricane, comes the rainbow. Goodwill prevails again, only to be followed by the bad and so the cycle of life goes!
How can you strengthen yourself for the end?
The best way to prepare yourself for the passing of a good moment is to enjoy that moment to its fullest. The key to being truly present in a moment is by practicing Mindfulness. It helps to focus on the ‘Here and Now.’ When you are truly living in the moment, you won’t be too sad about its passing. But if you are constantly worried about the future past without focusing on the present, you will become very upset since you failed to experience the good moments to the best of your ability.
Endings add value to your life
The second solution would be to view the ending of a good moment as a lesson that adds value to your life. One thing leads to another and the fact that you were able to experience this joy is a blessing. It is better to appreciate the ability to view something as good in the first place.
View uncertainty as an adventure
The ending of a good thing can mean the beginning of something new. This uncertainty can be scary and intimidating at times. But if you are someone who has a spirit for adventure, then this is a perfect opportunity for you to dive in and live this adventure. It can bring you many life lessons and every experience is worth having because it is a testimony of the dynamic nature of life.
In a nutshell, this phrase is a bittersweet reality of life. All good things come to an end because they are good, and things are good because they come to an end. I hope I was able to convince you to face this truth with courage and hope. It is a reality that we all must accept and strive through, and I know for sure, that we can!