The other night I was on my way out to dinner with my family at a local Thai restaurant. When we approached the restaurant we noticed an ambulance and a firetruck. After entering the restaurant we discovered that a man had choked and he would not be OK. Think about it: that night a man and his wife, and possibly their children, simply went out to dinner like it was any other Saturday night. In a split second, the world and existence of those people changed entirely. Everything they knew and some of what they loved simply ended. That night, a man lost his life, the lives of his family members were changed forever and the rest of the patrons simply went on to another restaurant for dinner.

Everyone faces tragedies, and at the end of the day, we are all forced to move on. For each of us, there has been that moment that we think we will never be able to move past. Many of us will move past that moment though, while others will forever stay paralyzed. It's easy to forget that every experience we have changes us. It's easy, though, to not notice the tragedies and changes other people are facing. It's even harder to remember how those tragedies have and will change their futures.

People die. We don't cry every time these things happen because they are constants. It is impossible to escape these occurrences; these are some of the things that change us the most. I won't go so far as to say they determine who we are, but they show our character and our strength. Moving past the tragedy of someone else is one of the most natural and easy things to do. Moving on past our own tragedies and challenges is one of the hardest things we do, because we will always carry those moments with us. The wife of that man will always remember the night they went out to dinner. The families of the victims of 9/11 will always have those memories playing through their minds. For the rest of us, though, life will move on. We may hear about these events and feel bad for the people, but it will not occupy the back of our minds forever. We will continue to go out to dinner and read the newspaper about all of the local events. We may never realize that one day, if we haven't already been, we will be that person who is facing the tragedy.

Knowing that life moves on should be something to remember during those difficult times. Through life we search for happiness, and we often find it. This happiness is not perpetual, because nothing good can last forever. It's like that old saying, "Nothing good ends unless it ends badly." If something is truly good, how can it end and still be good? A person's life can be one of the most beautiful things, so how can that beautiful life ending be a good thing? As cynical as it sounds, it's something that must be said, because it is the only way to remember all of the good things.

Life is not meant to last forever and neither are the beautiful moments. For every bad moment that changes us, there will be another beautiful moment to follow, making all the pain worth it.

— Samantha Warchol is a sophomore in psychology. She can be reached at swarchol@utk.edu.