So Beautiful And So Short

“I cry because life is so beautiful and so short.”

This quote ends the poem, “Bygones,” written by Marina Keegan, author of The Opposite of Loneliness, published posthumously.

At the young age of 22, Keegan died in a car crash on her way to her father’s birthday celebration, just days after graduation from Yale University — and weeks before she was to begin her dream job writing at The New Yorker.

Her words are filled with optimism and impact. Providing a clarion call for her generation: to be in the present, to find meaning in life, to do what one loves, and leave something important behind for others.

The grief of losing a child must be immeasurable. As a father of three, it is hard to even think about.

When someone so young dies so early, it is a wake-up call to us all. Our days are indeed numbered. Our promises can go unfulfilled. Fate can intervene. Our planned upward path can come shattering down at a moment’s notice.

There is a line from the song, “Gran Torino,” that goes, “The world is nothing more than all the tiny things we leave behind.”

In 22 short years, Marina Keegan left more tiny things behind than many of us will in much longer lives. Words, stories, poems, essays, relationships, and on and on.

She once wrote that half of her class would end up in business, finance or consulting. By some definitions of the American Dream, they were heading “up in the world.”

But by writing down deeper truths and charting a different path—albeit one never to be completed—she transcended them all.

On your way up, don’t forget to leave some little things behind.

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