The Opposite of Loneliness - Marina Keegan

Stumbled on a tragic story this morning…

“The opposite of loneliness.” “It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four a.m. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.”

Wow, that is a pretty impactful read.

It’s tough to read all that she had written with such hope for the future and to know she had just passed.

Thanks for sharing John.


It’s not Yale, but I think we’ve all caught a glimpse of what Marina was describing.
The shirts. The buttons. The capes. That feeling you get when you first glimpse the arena and all the empty pits, but they’re not really empty. The world is filled with promise. When the last bit of confetti has fallen, and nobody leaves the field.
We are fortunate.

I read this story a few days ago :frowning:

This is the cruelest form of irony the universe can provide. A bright girl, a Yale graduate, who had an incredibly bright future, ready to start a job at The New Yorker, whose life it tragically cut short just when she’s looking forward to the future the most.

It leaves me with a bit of a gloomy feeling inside. I reassurance that even the best, brightest and most hopeful of us aren’t exempt from the tragedy of death.

That being said, I feel this girl, even in passing, can do some great things for the world.

**“We’re in this together, 2012. Let’s make something happen to this world.” **

This doesn’t have to extend to Yale’s 2012 class. This can extend to every student, every teacher, every person in the world. This inspires me more than ever to “make something happen.”

Thanks for posting this John, it is definitely something to relate to.

A part that struck a cord with me was this -
“There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lay alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out – that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement. When we came to Yale, there was this sense of possibility. This immense and indefinable potential energy – and it’s easy to feel like that’s slipped away. We never had to choose and suddenly we’ve had to. Some of us have focused ourselves. Some of us know exactly what we want and are on the path to get it; already going to med school, working at the perfect NGO, doing research. To you I say both congratulations and you suck.
For most of us, however, we’re somewhat lost in this sea of liberal arts. Not quite sure what road we’re on and whether we should have taken it. If only I had majored in biology…if only I’d gotten involved in journalism as a freshman…if only I’d thought to apply for this or for that…
What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious.

[size=2]This inspires me to not be afraid of changing my mind about my education or taking risks and heading into a new direction. For the past few months I’ve actually been in this boat (not sure about what I want to do anymore and seeing those around me accomplishing bigger and better things), and reading this piece really has been reassuring about what steps I want to take next in life.

Again, thanks for posting this John.

Some of her parents’ thoughts and wisdom are shared in this article.

We can learn from this family. How to live and how to be a part of a caring community.

Peace be with you, Keegan family.


Wow. Thank you for sharing…
I’m graduating next year. Reading her work is hitting home with me.

I don’t know about you, but that feeling makes me cry, every year.
You’re right- we might not be Yale, but we have it too.

She was a really great student and this piece was just one of her many amazing articles. As a fellow Yalie, I know exactly what she described in this article, and every time I re-read it, I am more amazed at how effectively she was able to capture the essence of having that support network around you.
Thank you Marina.

John linked to it on his blog, but I think her article Even Artichokes Have Doubts is well worth reading too. Of course, not everyone has McKinsey & Company or Booz Allen Hamilton recruiters knocking down their door, but the point that you shouldn’t throw away your dreams for stability or what other people want is a pretty important one I think.