Time for another book review y’all! When Bowinkle handed me The Opposite of Loneliness two months ago, she said, “this will probs only take a couple of solid beach days.”
By your comments on my tan skin, blonder hair, and immense amount of beach snapchats and intsas, I know, you know, that the past two months have pretty much been chalk full of solid beach days. Alas, in that two months I have found myself actually loving on and finishing another book. And one to write home about at that.
The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of Marina Keegan’s fiction and non-fiction work that she completed during her time at Yale. Marina, from her writing clearly aspired to spread beauty, create and ignite a passion in people (weird that I would love her stuff-right?!). And she has done so through words in this book, which due to a young and untimely death at just 22 years old, she may have thought would never been shared with anyone outside of her professors and dearest friends.
I loved this book because she touches on a few of my favorite topics: embracing togetherness, the trendiness of being gluten free, angsty love, schadenfreude, why people should find a passion and not just go work for the man, and the growing pains of being a twenty something (le sigh).
Ah, the growing pains of us 20-somethings, who often already have nostalgia for “the best years of our lives” aka college because college was a time of true community, memories and togetherness. Marina reminds us that the opposite of loneliness isn’t a feeling that is gone and “the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set up for repetition as we grow up and move on.”
Moved on we have, and the repetition is showing it’s face in my life. As I head into my final year of grad school, I am mostly going into it with a lot of fear. Fear that I won’t be “good” at my new internship, fear of ruining my personal record 4.0, fear of picking up and moving across country again, fear of falling in love with a path that isn’t the one I planned, or worse, the fear of the inevitable: having to pick a path at the end. When reading one of Marina’s non-fiction short stories last night I read this:
“if you’re like most people, you’ll do one thing for two or three years, then something else for two years, and then somewhere in that five-to seven year distance from Yale-you’ll see a need to fully commit to something that’s a longer term project:graduate school, for example, or a job you need to stick with for some real time.
The question is: where do you need to be with yourself such that when the time comes to ‘cast your whole vote,’ you’re reasonably confident you’re not being either fear-based or ego driven in your choice..that the journey you’re on is really yours and not someone else’s?”
Yikes! but, how true. In the coming months of my life I will be on the brink of that 5 year mark, time to “cast my whole vote” as the book reads. I will be making making the journey my own, with lots of choices that will shape who I will be. Think senior year of college panicX1000.
With that said, how wonderful to be reminded by a book like this, where the author lead such a short life. That no matter what we do end up spending our time on whether it is grad school, marriage, traveling the world, having babies, nannying, teaching precious kiddos or stumbling to just figure out what we will have for breakfast that we all make some sort of difference in the world. All of us leaving some sort of tangible trace.
Read this book. you will love it.