“‘Everything that comes together falls apart,’” the Old Man said. “Everything. The chair I’m sitting on. It was built, and so it will fall apart. I’m gonna fall apart, probably before this chair. And you’re gonna fall apart. The cells and organs and systems that make you you—they came together, grew together, and so must fall apart. The Buddha knew one thing science didn’t prove for millennia after his death: Entropy increases. Things fall apart.”
Above is my favorite quote from Looking for Alaska by John Green, my favorite book. The reality behind this quote is my main reason why I love reading John Green’s novels; his works exploit the truth behind life events, not some sugar-coated ending where everything turns out great for all the characters. I love this quote so much that I cut out newspaper letters and pieced the quote on a canvas for my dorm room (need some sort of decoration this year).
My mom and sister read through the quote once; looked at me with their noses curled, as if they walked past a 3-month old port-a-potty; and said, “Why in the world would you want to hang up such a depressing quote in your dorm room?”
Yes, at first read the quote is sad because it reiterates the fact that we will eventually die. But I don’t find it depressing, I find it motivational.
We slowly came together as we developed in our mother’s womb and as we age, we slowly fall to pieces as our organs and systems break down. The computer or tablet or phone you’re on to read this was pieced together and will break down. Acknowledging that one day, the parts that came together will eventually leave each other, motivates me in the present. Should I drink this coffee? Yes, because the workers that grabbed the coffee beans and the truck that brought them here and the machine that grounded them will fall apart one day. Should I read this book? Yes, since the trees that created the pages and the ink that distinguish the words will fall apart.
The ultimate question that this quote helps me answer is, “Should I do this, even though it makes me feel uncomfortable and out of place?”
I came together, and so I will fall apart. I won’t be able to do the activity when I start falling apart. So yes, I should do it because I can now, and not one day.
Also, the quote falls in the lines of the cliché, “Things fall apart so better things can come together.” A cliché that’s an euphemism for when things end (most commonly used for teenage breakups). Yes, things fall apart, but yet they had to come together at one point in order to fall apart. What’s stopping something else, something new, something better to come together next?
Mom, sister, this quote may be depressing but maybe a reminder of sadness gives a boost to action for the present.
“Things fall apart.”
Bam, motivation in three words.