Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's not right but it's okay

Marina Keegan is a young graduate from Yale. She is 22 years old. She studied English in one of the greatest and oldest universities in the world and she is planning to start working for the New Yorker. I never met Marina. In fact, I never knew who this person existed until I read her essay - The opposite of Loneliness. She wrote it as her final column for Yale Daily News. Her words are an exuberant celebration of life, the confusion of youth and a dogged determination to live life to the fullest. I cried reading the essay as it was so beautifully written. It spoke about things I knew and understood. The only thing I did not understand? Marina died days after turning in this column due to a car accident. She wanted to live. She did not want to be lonely. She was confused and excited about being young. She just wasn't alive to see her promising life through.

"We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life." These are the words with which she begins and ends her poignant essay. Keegan wrote that now is as good as any time to to embark on a new adventure and that it is ridiculous to lament the hopelessness of life, because life is not hopeless. Marina's words are what I believe in during the good days and what I want to believe in during bad days. I know many people my age and even younger than me who complain about dead-end lives and dead-end jobs, not realising that most of the problems they face can be easily fixed if only they could fix their attitudes...their outlooks. Marina understood that. She understood about being young and what a confusing time it is to make decisions. We are all bogged by the realisation that most of the decisions we take right now will present us with consequences that will last a lifetime. What we don't realise is that, it is never too late to start over.

In yet another searing insight, Keegan notes - "We have these impossibly high standards and we’ll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that’s okay." That's okay. What wonderful and yet easy words to use. Nothing fancy about those words and yet are so healing. Sure, we may screw up our lives beyond recognition at some point or the other (some more often than others), but it is important to know that it's okay. It's okay. The situation may be less than ideal but it's okay. Marina understood that. We may fail at work, with family, with friends or with love. But it's okay. We are young (always). And we can always begin all over again.

I know complaining is the easiest thing to do. But Marina can't complain about how unfair fate is because she is dead. If you are alive enough to complain, you should be grateful enough to live. Her words inspired me. They made me cry. I shed tears for a girl I had never met and never knew until she died. But I have always believed that reading what someone has written, is one of the most personal ways of getting to know them. So, I know Marina. I hold onto to her words. I hold onto to her hope. And I hope someone else gets to read her words and is inspired as well. It's easy to complain but it is so much better to say that everything's okay and try and fix the bad situation. Being lost and confused (especially at our age) is normal and it's okay. But let's not bog ourselves down with the negativity of what it represents but rather celebrate the fact that we can always get right back up and keep going. To start afresh. To make lives our own. Our decisions our own. The consequences of our lives are also our own. There is no such thing as a hopeless situation but there is such as thing as a new beginning. Marina you may be gone now but your voice has been heard. The world is not done with you yet.