Monday, October 24, 2011

Something to Keep in Mind

I was struck by terrible news today.  While at work one of my college buddies messaged me to let me know that one of our old classmates passed away of natural causes this past weekend.  I should start this by mentioning that I did not know Bobby very well.  He was one of those college peers who shared the same major, appeared in many of my classes, and was randomly assigned to a group with me to work on class projects every now and then. What I did know about him, however, is that he was a very hard working 24 year old PhD candidate, president of the Biomedical Engineering Society, integral member of his research lab, boyfriend, son, brother, and friend.  Six months ago he and I were standing in front of our class dissecting a journal publication about tissue engineering with the intentions of educating the next generation of biomedical engineers on how to focus their efforts to help sick people recover.  To my knowledge, Bobby was neither sick nor injured.  For all I know he may not have experienced any warning signs that he was in any danger, given that he was working at his job when complications set in.  This hit me as a very clear message that I am not indestructible and as a reminder that the only guarantee I have in life is the present.  It is incredibly important to take time to appreciate the here-and-now and (I know it's cliche) live each day to the fullest.  There is no more blatant reminder that life is a gift than when one gets taken away. I don't mean this post to be morose or negative but I do want it to serve as a reality check! Death is something we shouldn't live our lives running from but just accept as the inevitable end and choose to live accordingly.  We all have so much talent and so much promise individually but, more importantly, we all mean something to so many other people.  Bobby would not have called me anything more than an acquaintance yet I feel so much anger and frustration with his passing.  I am fortunate enough to have had very few encounters with death thus far in life that I literally cannot imagine what his close friends, and family are going through. Bobby is greatly missed and his passing commands everyone to take some time to appreciate those who care for them and those who they care for. At the end of the day, what more do we have than each other and the memories we have created together?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Alone in a Crowded Room

It happened.  I mean I guess I knew it would eventually but I never anticipated what it would feel like when it did.  This morning I felt completely alone in New York City.  I was having an excellent morning up until I got on the subway to trek into the working world for a few hours. After pushing my way into the crowded car the tone rang and the doors slid shut like they always do. Something was different this time when the car started moving - I was looking around at all the people and felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness. I wanted to go back to the world of the weekend where I got together with close friends and met a few more.  From the buzz of the beer garden on Sunday afternoon, randomly meeting people who are feeling equally as carefree and fun-loving, to the sleeping in, ordering out, and all-around laziness that comes with few commitments I had more than enough social and personal time to stay happy. I can't explain where this feeling came from but it really hit hard. I love my new life and the independence that came with it and this post is not a complaint but, rather, an observation.  It is so interesting to me that you can feel isolated when surrounded to the point of physical contact with people who are (mostly) around your age. I have had plenty of opportunities to make friends in the city and I have been having a great time.  The real truth of the matter is that, in a city so large, nobody belongs more than you do.