Ruminations on A Vast World

Alya Bohr and

Life is kind of a mess. Actually, let me rephrase that more aptly: Life is a big, huge, crazy, mangled, tangled conundrum. And I’m just one more bundle of neurons and cells trying to navigate this wild and precious privilege we call living, so I can’t exactly claim any authority on the subject. Nevertheless, I’d like to offer up some slightly jumbled thoughts that have emerged from the inky recesses of my brain in regards to some of the more important things in life.

In other words, this column will be an attempt to answer the unanswerable questions: How do we find connection? What gives our lives meaning? How do we find and hold onto our true selves? Who is the best Beatle? There’s clearly a lot to ruminate on and I’ll undoubtedly arrive at many faulty conclusions, but I’d like to try anyway because, well, why the heck not?

To quote the author Susan Sontag, “God, living is enormous.” I’m certainly inclined to agree. There are paradigm-shattering, golden moments of instantaneous joy when it feels like the entire universe has aligned. There are crushing moments of darkness, pain and failure when we feel pinned beneath the weight of the world. And there are people who make us feel big, invincible and whole, while others make us feel small and unworthy. There’s so much room to fall, to rise, to grow. There is every shade of emotion and every genre of experience. There are little bits of magic and wonder sprinkled throughout the world, waiting to be stumbled upon.

And, somehow, here we are, plopped in the middle of this madness, charged with making some sense of it all. I, for one, am totally winging it. I have no idea what I’m doing the majority of the time, but somehow I’ve made it this far. You have, too, which is really special if you think about all the wonderful, terrible, beautiful, tragic moments we’ve both cumulatively experienced.

The world is far too big, too wild and too vastly nuanced for anyone to condense its quintessence into a lowly column, but I’m young and I’m foolish, so I’m going to try. I have no wisdom to impart, but rather lessons learned the hard way. I have no erudite philosophical insights, but rather cobbled together musings from the hormone-addled brain of a college student. Trust me, this is going to be great.

So where do we go from here? Eh, I’ll get to that in my next article. But, for now, I’ll leave you with this most fundamental point: Let yourself be seen. Start there. That means fighting for the things you’re passionate about with reckless abandon. It means knowing you are completely, entirely enough and reveling in that wonderful feeling. It means being vulnerable and courageous and sharing the deepest parts of yourself with the people in your life. Because — though this is bordering on trite and grotesque self-help phraseology — you are a gift to the world. Seriously. You add a richness, vibrancy and power to the world that quite simply wouldn’t exist without you. So, finally, I invite you channel Rumi’s words of wisdom: “Shine like the whole universe is yours.” Because it is.