This year, English 332 has been the death of me. It challenged me in ways I didn’t know were possible, helping me to become a better writer and understand Shakespeare more than I ever knew I could. And today, I almost cried in the final class. I realized that I was going to miss being intensively critiqued on my essays, staying up until 2 am to finish reading (and actually understanding) one of Shakespeare’s plays and having to act out a scene in front of people!!! What made me realize this? It was all the lessons I learned in the class, the friends I made and the care I felt from my professor. However, this all hit me today. For our final day of class, our teacher read us this prose from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest:
You do look, my son in a moved sort, As if you were dismayed: be cheerful, sir. Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air; And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capped tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.
Now, you’re probably thinking, what does that mean, and how the heck did that make you almost cry? My professor continued to explain that, yes, in this line Shakespeare is talking of the theater, as this was his final solo-written play before his death, and in this he is also talking about life. Shakespeare is saying that we have this amazing life that we are given, and that in the end it is all going to be okay. That our life is not defined by the mistakes that we make, but by what we make out of our life.
This week has hit me harder than I have ever been struck by life before. It seemed that in only one week, my life could go from being so perfect to me expecting something else to go wrong every day. And that is why I needed to hear this. Because it reminded me that I can do anything, and that failure is part of the process. It reminded me that no, things don’t always go your way, and sometimes life really sucks. But if you look around at the amazing life you’ve been granted, the friends, family and home that you are so lucky to have, you realize that life isn’t so bad.
And that is why I wanted to remind every single one of you that whatever challenges you are facing now, you will get through them. Think of everything great in your life, and let that motivate you to make today a better day. Because you must always remember that it is just a hard time, not a hard life.
And that is what is going on in Lindley’s Life.