The Art of Living

By: Kara Haselton

I don’t know when it happened or what the specific cause was, but it happened.

I fell in love with humanity.

I think it began in Psychology. Maybe it was the social psychology unit when we analyzed the causes behind our actions towards one another and the reasons why we behave the way we do. Or maybe it was the unit when we studied the functions of the brain, which—even though it was the hardest unit for me—impressed me the most because it showed me how intricate, complicated, and beautiful just being alive is. Or maybe it was when we looked at how emotions work and why we feel the way we do in certain situations, which made me be more empathetic and understanding towards strangers and friends.

But whatever the reason is, in high school I fell in love with Humanity, and there’s no going back.

I don’t think Psychology is why I fell in love; all it did was help me understand Humanity, give me the tools to look at Humanity in a different way, and enable me to care for Humanity in ways I hadn’t been able to before. It gave me a new set of glasses to see people through, allowing me to start observing people like it was the first time. That is the power of education.

I began to fall in love with the way that siblings resemble each other but are also so different; the way people get so animated at football games, soccer games, basketball games, championships, and then so ecstatic when we win and so mournful when we lose. I’ve fallen in love with just how intricate the brain is, in awe at how much we know but don’t know about our own minds. I’ve fallen in love with seeing my classmates express themselves in various ways like theater, art, dance, chorus, sports, language, or competition. I’ve fallen in love with seeing my teachers impact so many lives, changing negative mindsets to positive ones and helping students realize the severity and importance of their education. I’ve fallen in love with seeing the bond that comes from a loss—whether that be of a student, community member, national figure, or social concept—and how we all come together, despite any differences and backgrounds, and love one another because of our shared loss. I’ve fallen in love, but in a different way, with the way people show mistakes and accomplishments, love and hatred, and selfishness and selflessness. I’ve fallen in love with all this throughout my high school career because it all boils down to the common trait we share: our Humanity.

It’s difficult for us to hide who we truly are in every aspect of life. A little part of who we are comes out in different ways—whether that be academics, the Arts, conversation, or in sports; the various methods of expression have shown me how natural and human diversity is. Seeing people change from freshman year to senior year, seeing how they’ve progressed, seeing them find out who they are—all that is an art in itself. And it’s one that I have found I love. I’ve always thought that I would pursue a career in art and, honestly, was slightly disappointed when I settled on a major path that wasn’t in the arts. Yet, I’ve realized that that’s where I’m wrong.

Life is art. To live is art. And the different interests that people involve themselves in is just their kind of art. Athletes are like cubists and history buffs are like impressionists. Philosophers are like realists, while dancers are like expressionists. We all have different art to create throughout our lives, but the most glorious fact is how it all blends together. Humanity is a giant mosaic, a colossal art piece that is made up of billions of little art pieces in itself. When you take the time to see the beauty of the art–both as a whole and as individual pieces–when you allow yourself to step back and just look, the only appropriate response is joyous astonishment.

Going to school with people over the past four years has been like watching an artist getting ready to paint a masterpiece, but then not realizing the beauty of the process—at least not until the end. That’s the purpose of graduation: to force us all to take a step back and look at how beautiful the process has been and is–to see how far we’ve come. Finishing high school is the equivalent of going to an art store and buying all your materials; you successfully bought your canvases and paint brushes, the paint and easel, and maybe you got it at a good price while others had to pay a little bit more. Now, you’ve gotten back in your car and have driven home, or to the park, or to the beach—wherever it is that you like painting—and you’ve sat down in your chair, ready to start. That’s where seniors are now, simply getting ready to paint our masterpiece of life, getting ready to live and contribute our art to the mosaic of Humanity. Celebrating this process is important because it helps us look back and remember everyone who helped us pick out the paints, everyone who contributed money to our materials, everyone who gave us ideas and inspiration. But let’s not look over the excitement of what’s to come: painting our masterpiece! What lies ahead is going to be more beautiful than the shopping trip we took to get here, and we can rejoice in that.

I fell in love with humanity and decided that’s what I want to study—to study life.

But the truth is, my love of humanity didn’t replace my love of art because I found they are one and the same. I am studying billions of masterpieces. I am studying the art of living.

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