Impermanence: Do You Prefer Your Hut Or Your House?

Impermanence: Do You Prefer Your Hut Or Your House?

By Caroline Schumsky, LCSW, MS

Some say the holiday of Sukkos is where you spend a small fortune to live like a homeless person. Let’s be honest. It is kinda temporary and certainly simple. You’re not exactly taking your Louis Vuitton bag into the sukkah, are you? If you’re the one doing all the cooking and preparing and someone asks for one more thing, tell them you came down with a case of “NCD” – “No Can Do.”  Lol.

Sorry to say, but we are simply not permanent. I know, I know. The illusion that everything is somewhat predictable is ever so soothing, but sometimes things happen that jolt us into realizing how fragile life truly is. And life can feel like a test we didn’t study for. No matter how strongly you build that sandcastle, eventually the tide will wash it away in the sand. Your roaring fireplace fire will ebb into embers once you stop fueling it, and it, too, will die out.

Even the job you have today may not be the one you have next year at this time. The time we have with our loved ones surely does not last forever. We may not know what the future holds for us, but we must believe that we can “manage” whatever comes along. Life can be so bewildering and breathtaking if we simply let go of trying to control it.

We promise each other that we will be together forever, yet many of us have lost loved ones who we thought would be with us till our very last step of life. But do not be blue or bereaved, sweet friends. Is it possible for us to learn to expect the unexpected? Just because something or someone does not last in your life “forever and ever” does not mean that it was not worth every second you were given. Think about every memory you made with your first “best friend”; every ounce of happiness they brought to your life. Would you trade that for anything?

And while thinking that we all have an expiration date may seem a tad morbid and morose, it can make us create more meaningful relationships while we are still around. And since it can all change in the blink of an eye, why not delight in what and who is in our “here and now”? What you see as a “problem” now may be viewed as a lesson or even a new way of living down the road. If that something or someone no longer serves you spiritually, you may have to take a deep breath and let them go.

People leave us. Why? Were we just one of many bus stops on their ride of life? How can one person manage to make such a huge impact on your life even if they do pack their bags and eventually leave your fragile heart?

Ahhh. But it is all so fleeting, Caroline. Does that thought give you pause? Does it haunt you or invigorate you to “carpe diem”? Life’s curve balls can be blessings in disguise. So, please: Next time you fix yourself that piping hot cup of coffee, sip it slowly as if it is the only coffee you may ever have again.

Unfortunately, we humans often need the removal of something in order to fully appreciate its value. Can you think of changes in your life that were very scary at the time but actually ended up improving or even shaping your life?

When you finally embrace the transitoriness of it all, it opens the space for you to become witness to things, rather than always reacting to them. Regardless of your revolving door of thoughts, things will unfold and play out just as they were meant to.

Nothing in this life is permanent, not even your troubles. But remember, the same grain of sand that runs through your fingers will one day run through your children’s and grandchildren’s as well. Perhaps embracing the temporariness of life can lessen the blow when things don’t go quite the way we expect them to. It’s okay to change and even outgrow things or people, believe it or not. If someone brings only judgment or stress to your table, you may wish to consider eating alone for once.

Is your favorite part of the holiday going back inside? If so, please try to enjoy your time in the sukkah. Remember: Not all classrooms have four walls. Sure, it’s not exactly a five-star hotel. But if you look up, it suddenly became a five-billion-star one.

Where are you right now, sweet friends? Are you “with” the people you are with? They say we grow up the day we have our first real laugh – at ourselves. So, enjoy — Swim in the moments, for they shall soon be memories.

What are your thoughts, sweet friends? The floor is yours.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at or at