Is there a word for being sad about knowing that the things that make you happy will eventually go away?

I figure since English has maudlin and melancholy, maybe we have something for this as well.

An example would be when you are on holiday and you should be enjoying the holiday because it does make you happy but instead you are sad because you know the holiday is nearly over. I'm after a word for that particular kind of sadness.

It would be used in the same way as maudlin or melancholy, so:

"How are you today?"
"OK I guess, feeling kinda ________, I wish this holiday could go on forever."

  • 2
    This seems somewhat similar to the Japanese concept of mono no aware, which I've heard translated roughly as "a pleasing sadness of the transience of beautiful things".
    – KAI
    Nov 10, 2016 at 0:40

4 Answers 4


May not be an exact fit but perhaps you can use wistful (optionally with already). (Your usage of kinda in the example also conveniently allows for an approximate expression.)

"OK I guess, feeling kinda wistful (already), I wish this holiday could go on forever."


wistful adjective

: having or showing sad thoughts and feelings about something that you want to have or do and especially about something that made you happy in the past

She was wistful for a moment, then asked, “Do you remember the old playground?”.


I am not sure this is a perfect fit, but Sunday Night Blues refers to the feeling you get on a Sunday evening thinking that tomorrow is a working day.


I'd use bittersweet in your example. It doesn't contain the whole sentiment of knowing what makes you happy will go away though.

If not referring to an actual plant (vine), bittersweet is defined as

"pleasure alloyed (mixed) with pain". (Merriam-Webster)

  • 2
    Welcome to ELU. We prefer answers that are longer than one line, and an explanation of why your answer is good, i.e. a definition of "bittersweet", preferably with a dictionary quote and link to that dictionary. See e.g. alwayslearning's answer on this question for an example of a good answer.
    – AndyT
    Nov 9, 2016 at 17:30

One term is memento mori.

British Dictionary definitions for memento mori


/ˈmɔːriː/ noun 1. an object, such as a skull, intended to remind people of the inevitability of death

Word Origin...Latin: remember you must die

Source: Dictionary.com.

In the OP's example, a vacation scene (such as the view of a beach, etc.) would remind the OP of the limited time frame of the vacation, and thus could be described as a memento mori. The analogy with death is fitting, since death is the ultimate passing in this world and is also in widespread use as a metaphor to describe other endings (e.g. product death, civil death, etc.)

Another term, though not one normally used as a noun, is sic transit gloria mundi.

Sic transit gloria mundi is a Latin phrase that means "Thus passes the glory of the world." It has been interpreted as "Worldly things are fleeting." The phrase was used in the ritual of papal coronation ceremonies between 1409 (when it was used at the coronation of Alexander V)1 and 1963.

Source: Wikipedia.

I've never encountered anyone describe anything as a "sic transit gloria mundi" (as opposed to a "memento mori"), but it describes the fleeting nature of power, wealth, health, and other good things.

Given the OP's phraseology, someone could say that they are "feeling sort of 'sic transit gloria mundi'".

  • Memento mori seems restricted to death only, and doesn't give the idea of being happy
    – Irhala
    Nov 9, 2016 at 16:03
  • 'Gloria' is not the same thing as happiness. Nov 10, 2016 at 9:12
  • A memento mori is a physical item reminding you of something. The OP is asking for a word for a feeling. Sic transit... is just a quib, like "sigh... everything ends", not a feeling either.
    – AnoE
    Nov 10, 2016 at 9:41
  • There's also timor mortis Latin 'fear of death'. As Jack Vance's mad poet Navarth put it, "Tim R. Mortiss, Tim R. Mortiss, He's a loving friend. He holds my hand while I'm asleep, He guides me on my four-day creep, He's with me to the end." May 25, 2023 at 22:43

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