Musing on moments
In the seventh grade, I read, for the first time, A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Upon completing the novel, I wrote an essay about the inner and outer struggles of the main character, Gene Forrester. I can’t imagine I said anything profound. Because I was 12 years old, I overlooked one of the most important lines:
Everyone has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him. It is the moment when his emotions achieve their most powerful sway over him, and afterward when you say to this person “the world today” or “life” or “reality” he will assume that you mean this moment, even if it is fifty years past. The world, through his unleashed emotions, imprinted itself upon him, and he carries the stamp of that passing moment forever.
Because I was so young, I couldn’t fully grasp how important this quote is. Now, not that I am truly any older, I understand what it means to have a moment “imprinted” upon me. However, I imagine these moments more than I actually experience them. My hope for the future is that my “moment in history” is greater, bigger and better than what I could come up with before I fall asleep.
I like to think of moments that could have been my “moment,” if only I had been alive. Here are a few: tearing down the Berlin Wall, New Year’s 2000 (technically I was here for this, but I was still in the womb), Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the moon landing, JFK’s “Do not ask what your country can do for you…”, June 4, 1919 (the 19th Amendment, granting women the vote), and the Beatles live.
Being a part of history is one of my favorite parts of life. I want to remember everything: the scents, the songs, the shirt I was wearing. I live my life knowing that one day, this will all make an excellent story. Hopefully, with (extreme) effort and dedication, I will be able to tell these stories in different languages.
I am usually quite shy, so becoming an explorer of the world will take some extra practice. But when I am watching the first female president being sworn in, I know it will have been worth it.
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