“All Good Things Must Come to an End”: Wisdom or a Downer?

The proverb “all good things must come to an end” is bittersweet. On the one hand, it highlights the fleeting nature of life’s best moments. On the other, it can feel disheartening. But is a reminder of impermanence inherently negative? Let’s dive into the nuances of this saying and when it’s (and isn’t) an appropriate sentiment.

When the Proverb Fits

There are times when this proverb rings true and offers a dose of helpful realism:

  • Managing Expectations: When life is joyful, it’s easy to forget that things can change. This proverb helps us stay grounded, reminding us to savor the present.
  • Coping with Loss: After a wonderful experience ends, a job change, or a loved one passing away, acknowledging that nothing, even good things, last forever can be part of the healing process.
  • Motivating Change: If you’re stuck in a rut, knowing even a bad situation won’t last forever can be empowering to make a change.

When It Doesn’t Apply

There are times when this proverb can feel overly pessimistic:

  • Discouraging Effort: It shouldn’t be used to deter ambition. Striving for growth often involves enduring challenges before seeing positive results.
  • Focusing on the Negative: While acknowledging the impermanence of joy is important, constantly fixating on endings can stifle present happiness.
  • Dismissing Enduring Values: While experiences may end, certain values like love, friendship, and knowledge can endure and evolve over time.

Finding the Beauty in Endings

“All good things must come to an end” isn’t about despair, but rather about acceptance and perspective:

  • Gratitude: Endings offer a chance to reflect and be grateful for what was instead of merely lamenting its passing.
  • Growth: Endings clear a path for new beginnings, opportunities we might not have pursued if we clung to the past.
  • Appreciating the Present: The knowledge that something is fleeting can make each moment more precious and lead us to live more intentionally.


  • A fantastic vacation: It will end, but the memories and renewed energy it brings can last long after.
  • A fulfilling job: Even if you move on, the skills and relationships developed will stay with you.
  • A beloved childhood phase: Your child may grow up, but your bond and the love you share will endure in new forms.

The Takeaway

“All good things must come to an end” is a reminder of the delicate balance of life. It asks us to honor endings as the natural flow of existence, paving the way for new experiences, growth, and appreciation. While the end of something good can be bittersweet, it doesn’t mean the next beautiful chapter of your story isn’t waiting to be written.


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<a href="https://englishpluspodcast.com/author/dannyballanowner/" target="_self">Danny Ballan</a>

Danny Ballan


Danny is a podcaster, teacher, and writer. He worked in educational technology for over a decade. He creates daily podcasts, online courses, educational videos, educational games, and he also writes poetry, novels and music.

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