‘The Opposite of Loneliness’ Is The Ultimate Summer Read For Gen-Y, By Gen-Y
Sometimes you read a book that just stays with you. The words are so powerful and so real that once they enter your mind they stay for days, for weeks or perhaps even forever. "The Opposite of Loneliness" is one of those books.
In my mind, Marina Keegan has become the voice of our generation, and it's one you need to hear. Never have I read such eloquent, beautiful and prudent words from someone who just gets it.
It’s like Keegan already lived 100 years and raced back to her 20s to share her wisdom and insight with us all.
This collection of short stories and essays acquired its title from perhaps her most significant piece, "The Opposite of Loneliness." This piece was written for her fellow Yale grads, and then it went viral, touching over 1.4 million people.
Tragically, it was the last of her articles published before Keegan's heartbreaking and untimely death in a car accident just days after graduating.
One of Keegan’s most poignant lines in this thought-provoking piece stems from her ability to experience life as a Millennial while simultaneously viewing her generation as an outsider:
Unlike so many young writers today, Keegan didn’t want to write about a historic or fantasized world, and she didn’t try to romanticize life for readers.
She just wanted to write about us, about our generation and the truth about the world we face both now and in the years ahead. Her words are fiercely honest, reflective and entirely real.
Keegan says everything we may not articulate, but certainly experience, believe in and witness throughout our 20s. She also says a lot that you may not have considered, but is worth taking another look at.
Here are some of my favorite lines from the collection:
Keegan had a deep appreciation for both the simplicities and complexities of life, and she had the unique ability to find a sense of love not just in people, but in everything that surrounded her.
Throughout her stories, Keegan often talks about the importance of following your dreams and honestly pursuing your real hopes and desires in life.
It’s clear that hers were both simple and ambitious, but she made a point of ensuring that everything she pursued in her life was what she truly wanted and valued.
Her essay titled, "Even Artichokes Have Doubts," focuses on the way her Yale peers were sucked into careers they originally had no desire to pursue with giant financial and consulting firms.
She based her thoughts on the fact that 25 percent of the Yale student body went on to follow a career in these sectors, ignoring the path they originally set out for when they embarked on their freshman year.
On preserving our world
In her essay, "Putting the 'Fun' Back in Eschatology," Keegan shares her thoughts on conservation and doing what we can for future generations.
She talks about her responsibilities as an individual and mentions global warming, population control and nuclear weapons, but her final line says it all:
Again, Keegan makes a strong point in just one sentence:
On how we look back
And finally, on looking forward
Through her words, Keegan encourages you to believe in the possibilities and do everything you can to make a difference in the world.
You can start by making this text the next book you pick up this summer. I promise you, it is everything.
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