Finding Our Great Perhaps
“After all this time, it still seems to me like straight and fast is the only way out – but I choose the labyrinth. The labyrinth blows, but I choose it.” – The Colonel (Looking for Alaska, 2005)
At some point in our lives, we have all felt stuck. You know that notable saying about “being prepared for whatever life throws at you”? Well, despite these preparations, it can still seem like life is always two steps ahead of us. In author John Green’s riveting coming of age novel, Looking for Alaska, life is compared in the most eloquent of ways to a labyrinth, or a place of suffering. The protagonists of the story, Miles “Pudge” Halter, Chip "The Colonel" Martin, and Takumi Hikohito, investigate the enigma involving the “how” and “why” of their friend Alaska Young’s sudden death, only to discover out that she may have chosen the “straight and fast” way out of her problems. In reading this novel, I have come to the conclusion that this labyrinth called life can be a tricky place, full of twists and turns and unexpected bumps. Given the conditions, there is no guarantee we will make it out without a few battle scars. Hardships in life are inevitable. Some things we endure will only be temporarily painful and uncomfortable, while others may be life altering and utterly devastating. Like Alaska, I too at times have felt the urge to check out and put an end to the suffering. Suicide, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse have proved to be tempting means of escape for an increasing number of people, particularly teens and adolescents. However, the author reminds us that what is meant to detour us in life will only elevate us if we decide to keep our hands on the steering wheel and just drive towards our Great Perhaps, our life’s fulfillment. We may not know where exactly we are driving to. We receive the pieces of the puzzle every now again along the way. We only have some idea of who we are to become in this life, but we must find our hope and solace in the fact that better days are coming. Though we may not be able to change what happens to us, we still have a choice. Only we can decide whether or not we will count ourselves out of the game or push through it. Only we can decide how our circumstances will affect us. If we keep whatever brings meaning and light to our lives ever before us, we can be sure that we will make it out of the labyrinth alright.
Chelsi is an eighteen-year-old from the Los Angeles County who enjoys reading, writing, and antique shopping in her spare time. She is involved in a variety of extracurricular activities but tries to center them on her passions: promoting cultural awareness and empowering young women to be all that they can be through Jesus Christ. She is currently striving to pursue a career in journalism and entrepreneurship.
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