Is there an idiom or maybe a proverb stating that things will not be the same or as you want, forever.
For example when telling someone that they might be in a good state or status now, but they will sure some day face difficulty or trouble (when they, for instance, feel so certain that they won't) more like warning, threatening or something.

A: He always bosses us around. We're really tired of that.
B: I know what you mean. He will face the consequences some day. Things will not always be as he wants (something to replace the last sentence in italic).

  • 5
    This too shall pass has about 33,700 results in Google Books. I'm more used to people saying that when the current situation is very bad, rather than good (the idea being that if you just "hang in there", it won't stay that bad forever). Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 22:17
  • @FumbleFingers I want something exactly the opposite of what you said! The current situation is good, but I wanna say it will not stay as good forever! Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 22:28
  • 1
    @Cheiloproclitic When you ask a question to request for a single word, idiom, phrase, or proverb, please use the right tags (X-request). Please take a look at the previous question which I edited, too.
    – user140086
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 12:35
  • 1
    Related english.stackexchange.com/q/199859
    – anemone
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 13:59

13 Answers 13


This too shall pass. It's appropriate both for the impermanence of good things and bad --there's a fable that a king asked his wise men to give him something that would cheer him up when he was sad, humble him when he was proud, comfort him when he was mournful, and calm him when he was agitated. After much deliberation, they gave him a ring with those four words engraved upon it.

For your particular use case, there's also the saying "the bigger they are, the harder they fall," which is specifically used for predicting the downfall of the high and mighty.

  • I absolutely love this one
    – user180089
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 1:45

You could consider using what goes around(,) comes around which means:

Prov. The results of things that one has done will someday have an effect on the person who started the events:

'So he finally gets to see the results of his activities. What goes around, comes around. Now he is the victim of his own policies. Whatever goes around comes around.'

[McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs]

I think the Wiktionary has a better definition:

A person's actions, whether good or bad, will often have consequences for that person.


The Buddha's last words were

All conditioned things are impermanent.


If you want to convey that things are good right now but will not be good forever, you might go with:

  • All good things must come to an end.


  • Happiness is fleeting.

In your specific context the second works better, as in "Things will not always be as he wants. Happiness, after all, is fleeting." Or you can just replace italicized sentence with the latter. But it may not be fully satisfying in that context.


Carpe diem comes to mind: (interj.)

  • Used as an admonition to seize the pleasures of the moment without concern for the future.


Make hay while the sun shines

  • Prov. If you have an opportunity to do something, do it before the opportunity expires.

    • Jane: While my husband's out of town, I'm going to watch all the movies he wouldn't take me to see. Jane: Why not? Make hay while the sun shines.

(The Free Dictionary)


If something can't go on forever, it will end.

The quote is attributed to Herbert Stein.


One of my personal favorites from the great P.B.Shelley's Ode to the West Wind

If winter comes, can spring be far behind?

There are a lot of different interpretations for this line but almost all of them imply the core meaning i.e., if you are experiencing hard times, eventually you'll experience some happy times too. This is a hugely popular phrase in English to express hope in times of despair.


Whatever you plant is what you'll harvest.

This is part of a verse from the bible.


Rosalind Fergusson, The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs (1983) lists a number of proverbs that seem on point, though they aren't especially common in my experience:

The footsteps of fortune are slippery.

The highest spoke in fortune's wheel, may soon turn lowest.

Fortune is weary to carry the same man always.

Every flow has its ebb.

The highest tree has the greatest fall.

The highest branch is not the safest roost.

He sits not sure that sits too high.

In short, "You're going down, Yertle!"



All things must pass

Also, All things will pass: Fig. Everything comes to an end eventually. You'll get over this setback. All things must pass. McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

As you sow, so shall you reap; For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind; if you sow thorns, you will not reap roses; Whosoever sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind

Suffer the consequences. Hosea 8:7's “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” has come to mean that evil deeds in the past will come back to haunt you. Another biblical verse with a similar admonition is Galatians 6:7's “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (used as the expression, “you'll reap what you sow”), and Proverbs 11:29's “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind.” As yet another indication how popular references have shifted from the sacred to the profane, the contemporary equivalent is “Be aware of what you do, or else it may come back and bite you in the ass.” Endangered Phrases by Weston A. Price

One should be aware of what they do, or else it might come back and bite them in the ass

bite (someone) in the ass

To punish or take revenge on someone for his or her misjudgment or misdeed(s). Typically the punishment or revenge is not exacted by a person, but as a general consequence for the misbehavior itself. Not used in polite conversation. Your poor treatment of your employees might come back to bite you in the ass some day. I got too greedy with my gambling, and now it has bitten me in the ass. Farlex Dictionary of Idioms


I think "What goes up must come down." works perfectly. it means that nothing can continue to increase forever. Everything that grows or rises will shrink or fall eventually.


There is sunshine after the rain, i.e. easiness after difficulties. enter image description here

For the opposite (pain after good time):

  • have the worst to come (or the worst is still to come),
  • not be through the worst of it,
  • have one's best days behind oneself.
  • What about difficulty after easiness? Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 23:01

Since this appears to be about a person's negative actions hurting them in the future, I would suggest:

"You reap what you sew." - Despite being a farming term, in modern (American) English, this is a little more literary high-minded, if still somewhat common. It literally means the seeds you plant determine what sprouts and you harvest.

"He'll get what's coming to him." - More common, more vengeful. Tends to indicate the speaker or another person will be directly supplying the comeuppance.

"Karma's a bitch." - Somewhat vulgar and blasphemous, but a lot of fun to say. Implies that a higher power will be the source of the retribution.

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