Whenever I go into a big city I always feel invincible, as if I can do anything in the world. It’s funny because it’s just a place; nothing specifically makes it different than where I live. There are still cars, people, shops, and food yet everything is just completely dissimilar.
My favorite place in the world is New York City. When I was thirteen years old I used to take an acting class in Time Square. Each and every time I got off the train and walked those 12 blocks to the studio I got butterflies as I approached the commotion. I wanted everyone to experience the joy that I did when I rounded the corner and the lights came into view, it was magical yet somehow everyone I showed didn’t have the same appreciation I did.
Ever since I can remember I’ve always had a very vivid imagination. A trait that is helpful, yet at the same time got me in trouble. I spend my days dreaming about something bigger than myself, which helps pass the time, but I realize it’s making me miss out on life.
The other day I was reading the book “The Opposite of Loneliness” which is a collection of essays from the late Yale graduate Marina Keegan. She wrote, “I miss dreaming forwards” “What?” “I dream backwards now. You won’t believe how backwards you’ll dream someday.” I didn’t realize how much that sentence struck a chord until I put down the book for the night.
Each and everyday I spend my time wishing and plotting for something that simply is not real. I get so caught up in the “ifs” and the “buts” that I don’t realize that my dream is slowly floating away. It’s hard to admit, you know, that you’re being naïve. Suddenly you rise from that tunnel vision and see the truth staring back at you in the mirror, it’s scary.
As I took in these words form a 22-year-old girl who had so much ahead of her I couldn’t help but repeat the title in my head. The opposite of loneliness, what does that mean? How does it relate to me? Why can’t I think about something other than this book?
Then I realized why I liked the lights so much and why I felt happiest surrounded by people I have never met, and will never see again. I liked the idea that I was apart of something, which I belonged. In a city that never sleeps full of endless possibilities, hopes, dreams, and sometimes disappointment I was able to leave my mark. I was able to be me without worrying about others judgments.
Why is it that we need to be in our darkest most uncomfortable times to feel the warmth around us? We forget. We are foolish. We make ourselves believe we are in the fight against the world, and we are doing it alone. We mustn’t forget. We must live and we must love because you never know how many days we have ahead of us.
I will leave you with this: “What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We can’t. We must lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”
Next time you see, the lights remember those words. Remember Marina. Remember how you feel when you are invincible. Then you will able to comprehend the opposite of loneliness.