It's never to late - in fiction or in life - to revise. - Nancy Thayer
While recently wandering in a Chapters book store I stumbled across a table of "staff picks", and a book selected by Heather. I will probably never meet Heather, but if I did I would thank her for selecting The Opposite of Loneliness - Essays and Stories, by Marina Keegan.
In 2012, soon to be graduate of Yale university Marina Keegan published her insightful essay "The Opposite of Lonelines" in the Yale Daily News . It went viral. At 22, Keegan managed to speak to the experiences of so many of us in the midst of early adulthood, trying to find our way.
"We're so young. We're so young. We're twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There's this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lay alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out - that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it's too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement."
I'm no longer 22 but Keegan's words still ring true for me, and I wish I had read them years before. I have experienced worry and anxiety about my place in the world; what my significance and worthwhile impact will be, and should be. Placing so much weight on my shoulders after graduation had consequences. I felt burdened by the expectation to achieve greatness. If I wasn't creating or improving then I wasn't fulfilling my promise to contribute to the greater good of humanity. I was impressionable, and humbled by those who were achieving around me. I had not yet found my own direction, and I envied those that had.
Keegan, who tragically died in a car accident only five days after her graduation ceremony, reminds us not to lose hope in our ability to continue to re-invent and carve new pathways for ourselves. For those of us who are no longer 22, her words reassure us it is never too late to begin, or begin again.
"What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have."
For each of us, our opposite of loneliness means something different, and it's important that we find it. For Keegan, hers was the experience of bonding with her fellow graduates at Yale while completing her undergrad. For other students and graduates in transition, it's important to search for a community of people who hold onto the same sense of possibility that Keegan had. We are here, we do exist, and we come together to form all kinds of support networks to reassure one another that it's never to late to try something new, no matter what stage of life we are in.