Commentary  Life Lines: Sunshine on an unanswered mind

I started at noon, delving through Tolstoy, Shakespeare, and Burns. Then I exhausted my famous quotes collection, reading one-liners by Jefferson, Galilei, and Huxley. Still not satisfied, I stared defiantly at the afternoon sun blazing through my window, daring it to inspire me. Nothing. I should’ve seen this coming when I titled my column “Life Lines.”

I could’ve picked campus activities, politics, or fashion as themes in which to specialize. But no, I picked life. And the funny thing about life is that it is annoyingly alive. It refuses to be defined in exact terms, twisting and changing while remaining constant.

My fellow writers can sometimes take a “watcher’s role.” Mr. Ricky Kreitner, of Piñata fame, often views and critiques a situation from the outside, offering considerable insight and a wit to rival mine. For me, though, viewing the situation of life from the outside proves to be a whole other story. Because you see, unless I’m into some real powerful mysticism, if I leave “the situation” I probably can’t come back to write about it. Thus I’m stuck in the same position you are, going through the same hi’s and bye’s, farts and giggles, fears and tears…except I have the gall to publish what I think about it all.

Thankfully though, I think my audience is sharp enough to know that I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I probably have more questions about the answers that aren’t questioned. While you ponder that, here’s what my hour of wading through wisdom from the past got me.

It’s okay.

That’s right; that’s all I got. William Osler said some good stuff; Ambrose Bierce made some smart comments; and Mandela has words to live by. But right now, as we sit on the edge of this academic precipice before falling into summer, I think most of us just need an emphatic, “It’s okay.” And I really think it is.

Yes, the ozone layer is being chipped at; yes, economic injustice seems too immense a problem to fix properly, and yes, there are many other things plaguing our world. But the fact is, you care about it. I’ve participated in, and heard of, discussions flying in and out of class at McGill that sincerely seek to answer these problems. Newspapers, clubs, groups, and individuals have a pervasive care for our earth and what happens in it. Without getting all Oprah on you, I want to say that this is wonderful and we should keep it up. But don’t forget that the reason we care so much is that we either feel or know or decide that this life is both special and worth living. Yet wouldn’t it be a terrible irony if we fought for freedom and happiness our whole lives long but never experienced any?

Go out there. Enjoy the sunshine. Kick ass at your final exams. And if it seems like things are getting just a little too tough, believe me: It’s okay.

What can you even say? Email Johanu at, and feel good while doing it.