Life, what is it good for?

By Erin Maduck

There is nothing like the euphoric feeling I experience the moment I travel beyond the city limits to a holiday destination. There is nothing like a new shirt. There is nothing like Kraft Dinner made to the perfect consistency. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush that praises my body after a good workout. There is nothing like the gratification of a sincere compliment. There is nothing like 10 people packed into a Honda Civic after a long night at the bar. There is nothing like laughing so hard that your eyes water and your stomach aches. There is nothing like living.

In the past two months, I have been made aware that three young adults who attended my old high school have committed suicide. After many silent moments pondering each tragedy, I morbidly challenged myself to comprehend the worst thing about it. Was it the people they left behind, or the people they never had a chance to meet? Was it the experiences that made them do it, or the experiences that they will never experience? Because of its frustrating simplicity, I soon realized that I have been avoiding the ugliest truth of all. These people were defeated by the absence of life’s essential balance. One can survive on this earth as long as the good seems to outweigh the bad; they can bear it as long as it seems worth bearing.

Every human being should make a special effort to preserve the balance in their lives, even when it appears as though such a feat is nearly impossible. People must take the time to remember why life is worth living. And when they cannot think of any conventionally significant reasons, the sum of the insignificant ones is usually enough.

Life is worth living because you can see old friends and reminisce. You talk about that promiscuous third-grade teacher, the weird kid who always wore the same orange sweatpants, and that day you threw up in math class. You remember things you have not recovered in six years, and you admit to whopping lies you told for the first time. You can laugh at yourself when you are with old friends, and offence is not taken when they laugh at you. Old friends bring out the giggles from elementary school, the tears from junior high, and the realities from high school. Old friends help us to realize that enjoying the seemingly petty events of the past might perhaps be one of the best gifts the present has to offer.

Life is worth living because of all of the spontaneous and consciously stupid things you do. Even though every ounce of common sense you possess ought to ensure that you not do certain things, you do them anyway. You stick your tongue on the soccer goal post in the dead of winter, eat Kentucky Fried Chicken when you are already bloated, and steal your best friend’s favorite cd(or her boyfriend). There are also all of those other acts that I am not allowed to mention. And just when you think you’ve grown out of the phase where senseless behavior occurs, you come across a harsh reality: this phase never ends. I thought that at 19 years of age I would be finished with stupidity. I was wrong. I am stupider than ever, but loving every minute of it.

Life is worth living because of that triumph you feel when you bubble in the last answer for the last multiple choice question on that last final exam. There is no glory like this glory. You get up from your chair, straighten your clothes, and walk up to the attendant at the front of the room. You stare at him or her intently and watch the test float from your hands to the surface of the table. You are instantly freed. The chains of responsibility and the wrath of the guilty homework conscience have temporarily vacated your body, and you are ready to party. You do not care if your friends are not finished their exams for another week. You are ready now. And these post-exam minutes give the semester-from-hell a refreshed meaning. Although they only come once a year, they are powerful enough to remind me why.

Life is worth living because of that favorite hooded sweatshirt you wear seven days a week. This sweatshirt knows you. After a long day trapped in a tight, polyester number, it is always there to hold and comfort you. Does a friend ever get to borrow this sweatshirt? No way. S/he can wear your old Camp Cadicasu sweatshirt, but not this one. This sweatshirt is thick, but not too thick. Big enough to be cozy, but not so big it’s sloppy. You associate this sweatshirt with emotional and physical peace-it is and will always be untainted. This sweatshirt is perfect.

Life is worth living because of giant slurpees. No matter what the pre-slurpee activity is-exercising, sleeping, or drinking-a trip to the nearest convenience store is always appropriate. Slurpees are colorful and fun. They soothe a sore throat, satisfy a thirst gut, or simply just give you something to do. In fact, slurpees are a very social beverage. I do not know anyone who is anti-slurpee. How could they be? Who would be brave enough to suggest a better combination than Wednesday night, Aaron Spelling, and a cream soda slurpee? Not me, that’s for sure. Spoon straw in hand, swirling around the pink contents of a plastic cup, these are the moments when I am truly glad to be alive.

Life is worth living just because it is. So when things get tough and problems become bigger than a bad mark on your Biology exam, or maybe even bigger than a terminally ill family member, do not forget about the simple pleasures that can always be depended on. In spirit of the title of my column, remember the little things.

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