I first heard about Marina Keegan, her essay “The Opposite of Loneliness,” and her book last spring as I was preparing to graduate from college. Her essay, and the excerpts I’d read in reviews seemed to capture so well how I was feeling at the time- excited to be graduating, but terrified of what was going to come next.
This month marks one year since I’ve graduated, and many of the same emotions remain. The feeling that I’m not doing enough, that I’m not as far in my career, or relationships as I should be, that I’m not accomplishing what I want to accomplish. Perhaps it’s a sort of quarter-life crisis. I’m not sure. What I do know is that Keegan’s words capture my feelings one year ago, and also my feelings today. Most notably, I often find myself missing the “web” of friends I so enjoyed at school, the “elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness” she so accurately describes. I can so identify too with her hope for the future. Like Marina, “I plan on having parties when I’m thirty. I plan of having fun when I’m old.” I know that there is so much life ahead of me to be excited about, it’s just a matter of getting there.
Her fiction is is just as powerful. I’ve found myself both laughing out loud and welling up with tears. There’s this energy to her stories I can’t quite explain that makes them nearly impossible to put down. Her nonfiction is honest and thoughtful. In various ways she captures my fears, my thoughts, my hope for a life filled with purpose, connection, and who knows what else. And then there’s the strangeness of reading her writing knowing she passed away only a few days after her own college graduation. I find myself both incredibly thankful to read her writing, and sad that she passed away so soon, that she will write no more.
If you can’t tell already tell, I definitely think you should read this book. I hope you enjoy it even half as much as I did. That it reminds you you are not the only person feeling what you’re feeling. That the opposite of loneliness is something attainable. That there’s so much life ahead to be excited about, and it’s okay to be scared, to feel overwhelmed, to feel like you aren’t doing enough.