Only a few weeks from graduating, I am beginning to panic—about finishing all my schoolwork, about getting a job for the summer, about finding something to do next year. I’ve realized that until this point in my life, I’ve completely taken for granted the assumption that I will have a place to be in the next years—a place that needs and wants me. It’s an odd realization, that I have to find a space in which I can be. Being is supposed to be the simplest state of existence, and yet it is a point of such intense anxiety in my life right now.

In some ways, though, next year will also be the first time in my life when I can actively be. I remember John D. Roth lecturing in my first-year colloquium about the evils of the passive voice “to be”—and until now, I think my being has been somewhat passive. I’ve gone from first grade to second grade to third grade to sixteenth grade without, in some sense, actively straying from this predetermined course. Only now, armed with a spirit of joy, can I transform my passive being into active being. As nervous as it makes me, choosing where and what I want to be in the years ahead also gives me an elated sense of freedom in my own being. The poet Rumi says it well:

There is a community of the spirit.

Join it, and feel the delight

of walking in the noisy street

and being the noise.

. . .

Be empty of worrying.

Think of who created thought!

Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.

Live in silence.

Flow down and down in always

widening rings of being.