September 3, 2014

MUÑOZ | 19 Year Old Existential Crisis

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By PAOLA MUÑOZ

How does a 19 year-old handle an existential crisis? She goes on Facebook. So what’s trending today in the social media? Jimi Jamison, Survivor lead singer, dead at 63; Carrie Underwood announces she is expecting first child with husband Mike Fisher.

Shoot. Well, that didn’t help.

From the irony of the death of a lead singer whose band goes by the name Survivor, to yet another celebrity pregnancy, our world constantly exists within the inevitable, without really understanding what that entails.

We are surrounded by so many distractions — an entirely separate world — in and of itself. This seemingly immortal other world of distractions, where the distance between an individual in Dubai and someone in Kansas City can be reduced to a mere second, is the Internet. It is the omniscient entity that encompasses the debris of our past simultaneously with the seeds we’ve sown today. It knows of all, except of tomorrow.

According to this other world, our lives dabble between polarized realities — the scandal and the trivial. Readers just can’t get enough about who’s expecting a baby girl, but proceed to scroll on down the newsfeed past horrendous genocides occurring concurrently with that funny Kermit meme that you just liked … but that’s none of my business.

We’ve become desensitized to situations that are rightfully entitled to their whispers for help; these are the situations that define our humanity in moments where we can secure someone’s right to life with as much gusto as we defend our own. All in all, it’s all news. Out of sight, out of mind. We are quick to turn a blind eye to what really lies before us, even when we are constantly being reminded of its presence every day: Our inevitable fate. But then again, who am I to judge what really is reality — reality itself is an individualized experience. It only really hits us when we’re faced with how much of a survivor we are really not. To put it bluntly, reality is confined in between life and death. No exceptions. What will you do with your time?

This crashing train of thoughts came about through peculiar means. Upon my arrival at my new dorm last week, I was welcomed by the stench of Doritos and futile all-nighters. As I unpacked the Febreze from my bag, ready to exorcise the demons, I wondered who could’ve been the culprit of this evil stench; did he or she have the same reaction when they moved into this room for the first time last year? Did the person before that person have the same reaction too? It goes on and on. Aside from the past, I also wondered where those people are today; if they have kids running around with feet reeking just as much as theirs did. Because my dorm has been around for a fairly long time, I couldn’t help but to also question: Are some of those people still even here today?

While the fear of death is secretly pervasive amongst humankind — especially the older you get — there are other things that are much more frightening. You could worry about your impending doom, but those minutes spent stressing are minutes that cannot be given back. Time is absolutely merciless — it is unapologetic by nature. Nonetheless, if you are reading this right now, you still have time left. There are still hours, days, waiting to be stretched. Although there is a limit to these days, no one can tell you exactly how to use them. So shut down Facebook every once in a while, and use the senses that are so readily available to you to experience a world that is eagerly awaiting your participation. Disconnect from a fabricated world of distractions, because no matter how many answers it has, it cannot tell you how you should live your life.  People will come and go — be aware of the life that is so organically prevalent around you, reconnect, and have no fear. Remember that you are stardust, because in this world matter cannot be created or destroy. You have been here, you are here and you will continue to be here. Even if Jimi Jamison died at the age of 63, his legacy is still a survivor. What will yours be?

Paola Muñoz is a sophomore in the College of Human Ecology. She can be reached at pmm245@cornell.edu. Midas’ Crumbs appears alternate Thursdays this semester.