[This post was originally written in April 2014 and never published.]
It's called "The Opposite of Loneliness." It's by Marina Keegan, a 2012 graduate of Yale who died tragically in a car accident some 5 days after graduation at the ripe young age of 22.
A collection of her essays were published after her death in a book of the same name and while in Barnes & Noble today, I thumbed through it briefly and tonight, after I couldn't get the single paragraph I'd read out of my head, I bought it.
In the essay, Keegan talks about never losing the feeling that at any time in our lives, we can always begin. Begin writing, begin a journey, begin the next phase in our lives. The underlying current to the thought here for me is that there is no "middle." These are all our own constructs. We are free to build them and free to break them. She acknowledges that our own personal insecurities are most often our biggest boundaries. I couldn't agree more. As a doubt ridden twenty-something, I am delighted to reject the wretched notion of "it's too late" and that familiar feeling that everyone around you knows who they are and what they're doing except you.
If you're hungry for more from her, there is also this which left my mind racing late into a Sunday night. It's when I read something like that I realize my love for writing. I want to write. I want to think beautifully and commit those thoughts to the page and use beautiful words that someone might have to google to know the meaning of. I want to write to feel and to make others feel. So that they might read something I wrote and feel it deeply and carry it with them the next day like a dream from last night's sleep. Maybe that feeling will color their existence that day and while someone is talking to them about something mundane at work, they'll only half listen because inside, they're still reeling.
I'll leave you with my favorite quote from her essay, but friends, it's absolutely worth reading in it's entirety:
"But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn’t live in New York. I plan on having parties when I’m 30."
I wanted more of her writing, to get get lost in her prose and revel in her vernacular but thank goodness she burned so bright, if only for 22 short years.