The Opposite of Loneliness
Yesterday I read a beautifully written article by Marina Keegan, Yale Class of ’12. It was published by the Yale Daily News in a special edition given to the graduating class at Yale’s commencement ceremonies.
I strongly urge you to read it here.
In the article, Marina wrote of the sense of community and safety she – and others – found at Yale; the camaraderie, the friendship and the many memories that they will leave Yale with of the times spent together. There is no word for this, she wrote, the feeling “the opposite of loneliness.”
She writes that the notion that the years they spent at Yale were the “best of their lives” is a cliche; rather, those years make up a part of who they are as they move forward, beginning a new chapter of their lives. Some have it “figured out” while others are still figuring things out, unsure of what comes next. She reminds us that it is never to late to start something new, to change our minds, to not lose the sense of possibility.
It is a wonderful article, written by a 22-year old wise beyond her years, who was able to capture so concisely the feelings of many regardless if they were at Yale or matriculated elsewhere, or if they found their community – their “opposite of loneliness” – in a non-educational setting. I know I read it and couldn’t help but recall times in my life when I had those similar feelings. I hope you read it too and have a smile on your face remembering those moments when you felt part of something bigger than yourself, felt connected to those around you, felt safe and inspired.
Tragically, Marina was killed in a car accident on May 27th. She will not have the opportunity to seek out all of those “possibilities.” But she has left us – her family, friends, classmates, and the thousands of strangers who have now read her words, myself included – with words that inspire us, speak truth to us, and remind us that there are plenty of possibilities in store for each of us and also the opportunities to seek out that feeling that is the opposite of loneliness.
“How much more there is now to living!
Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there’s reason to life!
We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill.
We can be free! We can learn to fly!”
Jonathan LIvingston Seagull by Richard Bach