Life as we know it

Lindsay Saligman - Ecuador


July 30, 2014

A few weeks ago, as we walked across our high school’s parking lot, a friend of mine turned to me and said soberly “this is the end of life as we know it.”

The first thing that came to my mind upon hearing this was the first thing that always comes to my mind upon hearing the words “end” and “life” in the same sentence: oh no.

The end of life as we know it is hard because, as many times as I’ve been told this, and as hard as I’ve tried to accept it, I cannot come to terms with the idea of change being life’s status quo.

Thinking about ends, I feel that this summer marks the end of life as I know it in three main ways:

The end of an era: For me and most of the kids who graduated with me a few weeks ago, this summer marks the end of an era. It marks the end of being a part of the school system we’ve been a part of every day for the last 14 years, and it marks the end of living with the family that spent eighteen years raising us. For me, it marks the end of Friday nights spent laughing with my beloved friends, and the end of Sunday mornings at my Synagogue.

The end of routine: The fact that I’ve chosen to go on a bridge year gives a whole new meaning to the end of life as we know it. For me and for all the other GCY fellows, this summer marks the end (at least temporarily) of speaking English every day. It marks the end of knowing automatically what is culturally appropriate and (at least for Ecuador fellows) it marks the end of living in a place where there is an abundance of oxygen.*

The end of my current perspective: As a person who derives most of the meaning in their life from literature, history, math and science, this summer most notably marks the end of learning lessons from studying other people’s experiences. The lessons I learn this year will be from my own mistakes and experience rather than from teachers or philosophers, and this prospect both unnerves and excites me.

At this point, I find my hopelessly academic mind asking the question: what is the sum of so many ends?

Because this is not the end of life, but rather the end of life as we know it, I assume that it must also be the beginning of something, though I do not yet know of what.

But stay tuned, because figuring that all out and sharing it with whomever is interested is the purpose of this blog.

*Quito, where I will be living for a month long orientation, is 9,350 feet above sea level.

Lindsay Saligman