It’s a bit curious that what I wish to write today results from what I have learned this past semester rather than my whole college track, but it is still, nonetheless, very useful and can certainly apply to the past and what I want to achieve in the future. I can reflect on my past experiences both from Denison University and UNH, but I think it would be more useful to give my learned guidance to the open-minded reader. So without further hesitation, here are my 3 cents to underclassmen and graduates alike (and I say 3 instead of two because of the three points I wish to make; I am not placing more value on my tips than anyone else’s, although I like to think that this information is indeed valuable).
First, I want to say that it seems like our generation is not genuinely happy. Why does it seem like our theme sounds more like twenty one pilots’ “Stressed Out” instead of Sia’s “Titanium”? Somewhere along the way we started feeling nostalgic; we want to live in the past when life was easier, simpler. Somewhere along the way we stopped feeling invincible and instead became worried, vacant. Obviously we all have our best and worst days, but I can’t help but feel like, as a whole, we’re very neutral instead of excited or opportunistic. Is it the economy? The unemployment rate isn’t the best, but it has been decreasing steadily for some time now, and it’s fairly low compared to other countries. I know there are discouraged workers out there, but the reason we fall is so that we can learn to pick ourselves up (and yes, I did just quote Batman). There could be any number of reasons, but either way, nothing should be powerful enough to bring down an entire generation’s mood, unless it was, say, an apocalyptic event; that would probably bum out a solid two generations, at least, or what’s left of them. My first cent: We need to see the good in difficult situations, and for all the bad that happens we must stand up and fight.
Second, we are so obsessed with finding our “passion” that we forget to be passionate with each other. Careers seem to surpass our need to be with the ones that we love. And I don’t mean that one meaning of love (limits of the English language.) The Greeks have three words for love: eros, which is the romantic kind of love, but also refers to the aesthetic and eternal beauty with it; philia, which is the affection felt amongst friends; and agape, which is more than the previous two loves. Agape is good will to everyone, and it is a love that reaches out without asking for anything in return. It certainly puts things into perspective when there is more than one word for love. We’re so concerned with making connections that we forget to love the ones we hold dearest. Instead of finding new love we try so hard to give the impression that we don’t care what happens in a relationship; the one who cares less is the one that wins. Why is it a competition? Love is all about being vulnerable, because it makes the experience that much more beautiful. My second cent: pursue a genuine love between peers, and do not be afraid to fall in love.
Lastly, we are way too analytical. So we create art still, sure, but we don’t always apply creativity in our lives. One time I read about how one guy supposedly experienced death, and he described his ordeal as “a dreamless nap.” In essence, when we die, we simply stop existing. It hit a nerve; how sad! How heart-breaking! I didn’t expect to be greeted at pearly gates on the other side, but I didn’t think it was as dark as he depicted it to be. Seeing it written down made so much more of an impact, and it feels so tragic. I suppose that would add more value to our lives now and it is certainly a good incentive to live life to the fullest. But then I read something else; it is a short story written by one of my favorite authors, Andy Weir. This is “The Egg,” and I suggest you Google it when you get the chance. It suggests that each and every life is lived to make a contribution to the human intellect as a whole, and with each death there is a new life of the same mind. Eventually, we will become something more than human, and it is one of the most beautiful stories I have come across. My third and final cent: live creatively and fully.
1: King, Jr., Martin Luther. A Testament of Hope.