Ah, the pleasures of Bluefly and Google Image Search! My generation lives everywhere, all at once, which is what makes us so "appealing, highly promising — and also radically vulnerable," according to U. of Virginia professor Mark Edmundson. His essay in the Chronicle Review made me think about the way I have been living my life, and I was a little surprised to see just how different I am from his students. The things he talks about resonate with me, to be sure; but I think I have a different attitude about them than his students do. Yes, I'm addicted to the internet, and I know what it's like to wish for ten impossible things before breakfast; but my vision of happiness has always had something quiet, closed in, and unchanging about it. Studying abroad is good - especially if a close friend is with you. An overnight train from Marseille to Lourdes, no luggage with you but a water bottle and a bag of Italian pastries - that's an Experience, but it's all held together by the hot croissant at the station, eaten very slowly as the sun rises. In my (possibly perverse) little world, you crawl through a half-drowned cave system to find one small chamber with gypsum flowers glinting on the ceiling, you go sailing for the night watches, and you go There mainly so that you can go Back Again. This a fancy way of admitting what most of my readers know already: that I'm not one of the double-majoring, Red Bull-drinking, mission-tripping, super-connected young graduates who are profiled in that article. (Okay Mom, you can stop laughing now.) Really, sometimes I wish I were! I would get so many things done! But I'm not, so I might as well enjoy my odd way of doing one thing at a time.
"Dwelling in Possibilities" is just one of five essays from the last year that Santiago Ramos thinks are keepers. You can find the others in his post on the Image blog. I wouldn't have found some of these if I hadn't read it. Thanks, Santiago!