“The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious.” – Marina Keegan
Marina Keegan’s essay “The Opposite of Loneliness” has the power to cure aimlessness and restore purpose. Keegan writes, “The best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us.” How is it that this young woman had such ageless insights? And it gets better when she adds, “I plan on having fun when I’m old. Any notion of THE BEST years comes from clichéd “should haves…” “if I’d…” “wish I’d…” Marina died in a car accident on Cape Cod when she was twenty-two.
It is inevitable that at some point in our lives we’ll fall victim to ‘going through the motions,’ even if we do so unknowingly. We wake up, take care of the house, feed the cat, kiss the kids, go to work, cook meals, exercise, read, and then look at the calendar on the fridge and a week went by, or it’s December and you thought it was October.
I feel into this trap recently–caught myself conducting my day-to-day affairs listless. All of the sudden my writing voice disappeared and I was indifferent to training for my first ultra-marathon in January. I even began to question my own motivation for running the 50K.
And then Keegan’s words smacked me upside the head, lifted my heart and put me back on track. My voice returned and my prose flowed again. I’m now excited to get out on the trail, alone inside my head for five or six hours–my sanctuary. I can’t wait for that unparalleled feeling when it’s over, the next day, the next week–that effervescent runner’s glow.
“The Opposite of Loneliness” was handed out at the 2012 commencement at Yale. The essay ends, “We’re in this together, 2012. Let’s make something happen to this world.” Marina Keegan life ended five days after she graduated. Fortunately, she left an enduring legacy through her words.