Expiry Date

When I was in junior high, almost a decade ago, I went to watch a movie with my best friend. It was a local romance comedy, and I expected nothing but some triggers for genuine laughter. I didn't realize back then how consistent rom-coms were with this formula: a little life lesson, usually prompted by the most embarrassing moment.

I might have gone home with less giggling than I had hoped for that day, but I went home with its short sentence stuck in my head. "Love has an expiry date,” said one of the characters. For me, the sentence eventually morphed into "Perhaps everything has an expiry date". It has stayed since then.

The sentiment comes back to me now and then, thus forcing me to think about it from time to time: during my first heartbreak, a friendship fall-out, and too many faded bonds. If I am trying to be positive, I would say that it is life's painful reminder to relish every moment before it ends. I will be happy while it lasts, but there is probably a timestamp outside the seal of almost everything good. If I am trying to be realistic, however, I would simply argue that it is just the way it is. We humans are trying so hard to read into everything just to discover that the universe is hiding nothing. In one way or another, perhaps everything does have an expiry date.

It baffles me to realize how temporariness finds evidence in daily little things, making it easily relatable, like the short lifespan of your phone battery; the fading hot steam from your ceramic mug; the unpleasant odor in the air due to food deterioration; the red stain on your lips, barely noticeable; the crumpled foil wrapper with little chunks of a left-over chocolate bar; a close friend moving abroad; and the failure to maintain the status quo of your longest alliance. If a breakup snaps your heart into two big pieces, the little things prick it with small sharp needles. You gasp in horror because while you are always wary during a relationship, you are never on guard in other things.

I don't mean to say that a romantic split is easier to go through, but while the pain lasts longer, I do think it hurts slightly less than a platonic one. What you do not see coming sometimes hurts you more. For instance: my best friend is no longer my best friend. We are still on good terms, but what used to be a regular weekend meet has turned into a few hours of catch-up once in a while on a Saturday afternoon after months of matching our schedule. Perhaps it is true that bonds do not go bad, they just simply expire.

In one way or another, however, I wouldn't say that I am still pining for the old days. Perhaps the more we grow, the more life hones us. Some things change, and I am surprised by how receptive I am to the concept until I realize that I have changed also. I have an unsaid, secret crush on an older boy even if our interaction was no more than a "Hi", a smile, and a nod when we passed each other, and now nothing at all; I am obsessed with sushi; I have an unwritten agreement with another old friend to go on a play-date once every month; and I have new friends.

If I am trying to be positive, I would say that life goes on, even if most of the good things expire. If I am trying to be realistic, however, I would state that life goes on, even if it seems to numb you. But the good thing about this situation is even the paralysis is only temporary. You will feel, meet new people, and fall in love with life again. In one way or another, everything goes on, and what has once perished will rebloom.