November has been a brutal month for me. I suffered immense heartbreak the night of the election with millions of people across the world, and then, a few weeks later, unexpectedly lost my 27-year-old cousin, whom I love very much. It’s been a month in which my worldview has been upended. Narratives of right and wrong, of a just world, have all been called into question. But these are larger issues that I will have to work through in due time – with hard work that will require a lot of reflection and introspection.
But these weeks also mark my last as a student here at Cornell, and fittingly, in a weirdly poetic way, I have seen my hardest semesters be my first and my last (albeit for different reasons). The true understanding that this is an end of a chapter hasn’t quite hit – and I don’t believe it will for some time. I tell people that I’ll walk out of my last final – and with a deep breath on the Arts Quad, remark to A.D White “Well, that’s it.”
For some reason, despite the heartbreak and low points of these last few weeks – when I probably went through some of my toughest days – I am feeling an immense sense of gratitude and thankfulness.
Thank you. Thank you to the universe, to the world, to the friends, family, acquaintances, random folk I will never meet, role models, teachers, professors – to all who, in some way shape or form (even unbeknownst to me), have impacted my life and shaped who I am.
Last night I tried to wrap my mind around the privilege I carry in this world. Despite being a member of many minority groups, I came to a realization that, when considering the billions of people on this earth, I am literally part of a handful of the most fortunate human beings on this planet. My job for the last 21 years has been to learn, to grow and to think with no worries about food, shelter or money. Although I have suffered, and there have been low points, the pain in my life has been far outweighed by the happiness. And that is a realization that this month has led me to.
I asked one of my friends, of what am I to do with this newfound understanding of the life I lead – a little afraid of the enormous sense of responsibility this now puts on me. I think it’s enough, for now, to acknowledge the hand that I’ve been dealt. But, at the same time, there is so much pain and suffering in this world, at times it feels for no rhyme or reason, that I feel as though it is not enough for me to just be a neutral force in this world, this life and these cards should empower me to always work toward being a force of good.
I understand I will make mistakes – I am young and naïve and idealistic. But I care and I believe in the good in this world, and it is with this belief that I want to wake up each day. I am grateful for the moments that have happened and those that are yet to come where I will be able to laugh, smile, cry and love, and it is with this immense sense of gratitude that I want to live each day and begin the next chapter of my life.
For some reason I exist on this planet, and have been allotted a certain number of days to live, so I’ll strive to fill those days with as much happiness, optimism and positive feelings as I can.
Thank you, to forces beyond my control, to a God or to a random assignment, to the coin that has flipped more times in my favor than not. Simply, Thank you.