It was like seeing my own brain on a page. Everything I was thinking about my life at this stage, and everything I had no idea how to put into words, was written in front of me in black and white, and with the beautiful sincerity possessed by the late Marina Keegan.
Keegan graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in May 2012, however her rising stardom was cut short five days later, after a car crash that sadly took her life. The book ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’ takes its name from an essay of the same title that had been written for The Yale Daily News. The essay was her last before the tragic accident, and was shared on social media over 1 million times, startling proof of the number of people who had been touched by her wit and wisdom.
The book comprises of works of fiction, and non-fiction essays, the latter of which I took a shine to most. The dedication at the beginning of the book, written by Keegan’s parents, says that the book is dedicated to love. I didn’t need to read the dedication to know that this book and these words were written with love and put together in the pursuit of love. It was a comfort to me that I was not the only one who did not have a word for the feeling we get when we move on from something so all-encompassing as university. The opposite of loneliness is exactly what that feeling is, and it is almost romantic that we do not have a perfect word for an imperfect feeling.
There are always things we wish we had done, but I have this sense that it is not the endings that scare us, but the beginnings that have not yet begun. The adventures that we have not yet embarked on. Anything can happen, and anything is terrifying.
Like I said, she put my brain onto a page alongside hers, alongside all of those who are scared and looking for a blanket of people and love to wrap around us. So with my recommendation to read this insightful, wonderful book, comes the thing I have been waiting to say (in Keegan’s words, but I feel like I share them somehow); “We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I’d say that’s how I feel at Yale. How I feel right now. Here. With all of you. In love, impressed, humbled, scared. And we don’t have to lose that.”
Take a minute, appreciate your bubble. Appreciate your reality.