The Meaning of The End: What Lost Tells You About Yourself

Lost. Within our own lives, we all have been.  We want what we don’t have, we yearn for the truth but are untrue to ourselves, we love people who hurt us and hurt people who love us.  We struggle to break free from the molds of our parents.  The assumptions we make about ourselves deceive us.  We are very, very alone.

If you were disappointed with “The End,” perhaps you are still at the beginning of your own journey. 

The end of Lost is not about answers.  If that’s what you expected - if you’re a left-brained individual - you’ve probably had a very difficult time accepting the finale.  You’re still searching for Walt.  You’re still not sure who died, or when.  You still don’t get the Smoke Monster.  You’re pretty sure they all perished in a plane crash.

Whether or not you’re satisfied with the Lost finale says as much about your own life as it does about the characters. What is it that’s most important to you?  Is it your travels around the world, or the people you’re going to see?  The surgery you have to endure, or the ones who are with you when you wake up?  Describing Lost as a story about plane crash survivors on a mysterious island is like describing your own life as the story of someone who is born, makes some choices, and dies.  The end is NOT the important part.

If you can’t learn to live together, you’re going to die alone.  We’ve spent six years falling in love with every character on the island, and we’ve witnessed the most important part of their lives – or at least, the most important part of Jack’s life.  Their time on the island is what lifted these characters out of loneliness, weakness and darkness and gave them love, strength and light.  In the end, the island is just a setting.

Lost is found within your own heart; it is found inasmuch as you have found yourself.  Lost is the randomness of chance, the possibility of meaning, the power of our hearts and minds to save or to destroy us.  It is the strengthening bonds of love, friendship and loyalty. The end of Lost is what we’ve always expected the end would be: the survivors would be found.  What we didn’t fully understand, these past six years, is that the survivors were found the moment Oceanic Flight 815 crashed on the island. They were found each time they stood up for each other, defended each other, loved each other.  They were found within that brief moment sandwiched between birth and death. They would never, ever have survived alone.

And neither shall we.  If you don’t like The End because you haven’t received an answer, you’re not looking in the right place.  Undeniably, the end of Lost has an emptiness to it.  We all have yet to experience the full circle of our own lives.  We’re searching within ourselves for meaning and searching for others to understand us.  You would not be human if you did not feel something – jealousy?  relief? – at the moment when each character “remembered”:  It’s the moment of enlightenment; It’s your whole life flashing before your eyes; it’s the bright light we’ve all been told we’ll see and the loved one waiting at the other side.  If we don’t receive the answers to all the mysteries in the world, maybe we don’t care.  The only mystery that we need to solve is the one within ourselves, and more than anything else, we need each other (and maybe a dog) to get there. 



Time to get up away from the computer and start my thanksgiving prep...potluck dinner tomorrow with tons of friends.  I've made thanksgiving turkeys for years, so I'm definitely confident in that category!  My problem is getting as many things done ahead of time as possible (i.e., today) so I can enjoy tomorrow without being a stressed out woman in front of the oven all day. A couple things I've learned from having a crowd three years in a row:

-don't underestimate cooking time. A stuffed turkey takes longer. Whatever estimates I read, I usually add on 30-45 minutes to account for all the oven-opening and basting.  Don't count on the pop-up, use a meat thermometer. Cover the breast but not the legs - they need to be done to a higher temp, and this way the breast doesn't dry out.  Plan to have the turkey done 1-1 1/2 hrs before actual dinner time, so you have time to put all the other casseroles in the oven.  The turkey will stay hot enough under foil.
-simmer the giblets with some onion & celery and use that liquid when making your gravy.  Unless you have one of those freaks in your house that likes to cook & eat the heart/liver etc...ew. ;-)
- there is no room in the fridge for beer. Coolers & ice are where it's at. Or liquor. ;-)
- no crappy paper plates.  Disposable ones, yes, but nothing that will absorb the food quicker than you can eat it.
- foil, foil, and more foil.  Big ziploc bags. To-go containers.  Bags of ice. Dish detergent.
- it's pointless to buy anything other than an enormous turkey unless you don't want to deal with leftovers. I chose a 19-lb one and even that might be cutting it close.
and the most important clean-up move of all: cleaning up the turkey.  It's only pretty until you cut into it...after that, it's food. Take all the meat off the bone as soon as you can.  Keep the skin separate as much as possible.  Don't forget the back meat.  Put the meat in one containter and throw everything else in a huge stock pot.  Put the skin in, too, unless you want a less-fatty stock (or don't use *all* of it).  Cover the whole mess with water and bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and keep it going while you get everything else cleaned up.  I like to cook the stock for at least two hours.  Don't salt it or anything - you can do that later when you're using it to cook with.  When the stock has cooled enough that you can deal with it, strain out all the bones.  If there are any more big chunks of meat in there, you can pull them out, then throw the rest of the carcass away and refrigerate or freeze the stock in containers.  Or, throw in the meat & some veggies and make soup!

...and, most importantly...HAVE FUN. :-)



I really enjoy this silence, in the morning. No Phish reference intended, but it's there anyway. ;-)  One of us already out to work, the rest of the house asleep, it seems like the rest of the neighborhood may be sleeping in as well.  I hear everything, even when there is noise, but when there is silence there is so much more.


File Under SciFi/Comedy/Drama

I am watching an insane number of TV shows right now.  It's no wonder I haven't had any time to read books (it's no wonder most of America probably doesn't, either).  I can barely list them all but I feel the need to try...Parks & Recreation, Community, Hung, V, Defying Gravity, My Name is Earl, Entourage, Accidentally on Purpose, Californication, Fringe, Modern Family, Cougar Town, Flash Forward, Heroes...not to mention some of the ones that have ended recently or will start new seasons soon:  Lost, Big Love, Flight of the Conchords (if they ever get around to writing enough new material...), The Goode Family, The Philanthropist, Better off Ted...oh, and then there's how I tried to get my boyfriend to watch Twin Peaks...we've made it through two.  I'm not sure if he "gets" early 90s Lynch...I wonder if there is a better way to ease someone into it.  Truthfully, he's seen all I needed him to see.  I just needed him to understand it when I make coffee every Saturday morning and then tell him "Wait! Don't drink that coffee! You'll never guess...there was a FISH, in the percolator!!!"



(**NOTE, 10/29/09**: This post, and all posts between 9/18/07-6/2/08, were part of a separate blog I started when I thought I'd grown tired of this one. But now I see the point of leaving it all in the same place. ;-) As you were...)

I think I've gotten out of the blogging thing for a number of reasons, including the fact that I'm busy and happy and seem to be finding other things to fill up my time, besides sitting in front of a computer and writing. ;) Not that I don't enjoy writing as much as I always have, but I'm at a point where I feel like my personal communications with my friends and family are way more important than a private journal for the rest of the free world to lurk over. I do still enjoy the forum for comments on current events, or catching up on some of my old blog friends' lives (which is why I'm writing now, thanks to Darek for the motivation!). I spend a lot less time on Myspace (blah) and a lot more time on CNN, Digg and reading news feeds. I guess I believe it's a lot better for my brain, and I know I've become more opinionated than I've been in the past. Autodidacticism rocks...too bad those mail-order degrees tend to backfire. ;)

Nevertheless, it's time for an update of my own, if only to assure everyone else and myself that I'm so much happier now than my last entry would indicate. Really, if you read that last one, the only excuse I have is that birth control completely fucks me up. I still feel some mild anxiety on occasion, but it's not even close to the emotional wreck I become with all those weird hormones. My sleep schedule is a little wacky, but I'm getting better, healthier sleep than I was 6 months ago, definitely.

So, I'm happy and busy. I have a lot of love in my life. I have a love of my life, too. :) I feel like I've grown up when it comes to relationships, and I'm a lot more confident and optimistic because of it. I used to describe myself as one of the most optimistic people I knew, and then for years that was NOT the case. Lately, that optimism has returned, and the motivation to plan and achieve the goals that I have in mind. Love helps. :) I'm gardening (and am in way over my head with the number of tomato and pepper plants I bought, but canning should be fun!), I'm working two jobs, I'm communicating more with my parents and my brother, I'm moving into a new apartment in August, I'm getting some more exercise (plan to buy a bike), and did I mention I'm really in love, too? ;-) And even though, as always, there are things to work on and things to fix and things to think about, those things don't make me nearly as anxious as they would have in the past.

So I don't *plan* on spending much more time writing unless the mood strikes me - which certainly happens on occasion, so we'll see. I'm hoping that this summer keeps me happy and busy enough that I won't be writing again until October, when I'll be looking back on the successful garden, camping trips, amusement park visits, good meals and happy memories with my love and my friends, and telling you all what an awesome summer I had. :)


Middle School Makes Birth Control Available to Students

Birth control pills and other methods of contraception are going to be made available to 6th through 8th graders in Maine. While parents initially have to sign a consent form to allow their child to see the school doctors or nurse practitioner, the treatment they receive is confidential under state law. Students do not have to disclose to their parents what treatment they choose to receive. (See full story here: http://abcnews.go.com/US/WireStory?id=3743628&page=2 )

This is really frightening to me because of all the hormonal problems I've had with birth control, and I am 30 years old. People don't realize that a lot of women can't take hormonal birth control (which includes all versions: pills (both low and high dosess of hormones), patches, the nuva ring, etc.). All of these versions of birth control have caused me varying levels of anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, irritability, headaches, and insomnia. In addition, the use of birth control from a very young age has been linked by some doctors to difficulty in conceiving later in life, and to the development of potentially fatal blood clots. I believe that, while many middle school girls have the maturity to take the pill correctly MOST OF THE TIME, the fact is it only takes one missed pill to lessen the effectiveness and result in pregnancy. Couple these risks with the fact that these children may feel less concerned about using a condom to prevent STDs when they already know they won't get pregnant, and I think it's a very dangerous option for these kids to have. I do not disagree with making contraception available to anyone of any age who feels they need it, but birth control is a drug, and its effects on the maturing adolescent body are potentially life-altering. These girls need to be guided in using this with extreme vigilance on the part of the school health officials, and they must remain aware of changes in their mood and physical health at all times. Depression and anxiety are already difficult symptoms of puberty, and they may end up much worse when their hormone levels are altered by birth control. I think it's a much better choice to guide these kids in the use of condoms or other non-hormonal forms of birth control, rather than risk such serious side effects at such a young age.

There is a form of birth control being used by a growing number of women in this country that has not been approved yet by the FDA. It's called Centchroman, and is marketed under the name Saheli. It's available from international sites like AllDayChemist.com, and very inexpensively. I have been looking into it lately because I can't tolerate the side-effects of the hormonal kinds any longer. Centchroman works without these hormones. According the wikipedia entry, it works by causing "an asynchrony in the menstrual cycle between ovulation and the development of the uterine lining, although its exact mode of action is not well defined. In clinical trials, it caused ovulation to occur later than it normally would in some women (Singh 2001), but did not affect ovulation in the majority of women, while causing the lining of the uterus to build more slowly. It speeds the transport of any fertilized egg through the fallopian tubes more quickly than is normal (Singh 2001). Presumably, this combination of effects creates an environment such that if fertilization occurs, implantation will not be possible.[1]" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ormeloxifene)

Aside from Centchroman and condoms, there are a few other forms of birth control that are really very simple and don't require the constant regular schedule that pills do. There are many people out there that still use a diaphragm, spounge or cervical cap to prevent pregnancy, and these methods are not outdated. They are all fairly simple to use, and don't require you to remember a schedule every day or every week.

I believe it's much too risky to give these 6th-8th graders hormonal birth control. There are all these other options out there, none of which have any side effects. Even the Centchroman, while not fully tested for approval in this country, has attracted thousands of women as a viable alternative to hormones and their side-effects. I really hope that these young girls are getting a very detailed education on all their options, and not just being handed birth control when they ask for it. With the risks of potentially devastating side-effects and the increased chance of exposure to STDs, it's going to have a negative effect on many young girls.


"I didn't think things like this existed anymore."

I'm feeling restless, which I know is autumn, and yet at the same time it's a restlessness for wanting to stay still, not move around too much. It's...hibernation. Winter.

But first it's fall, and this weekend was the best of it! :)

Chuck's Harvest Festival was more or less what I thought it would be...that is to say, more than I'd had in the past and less than I'd expected, but in a very good way. I dunno...I think it's just age and the history of it all. I expected it to be what it was for us all 10 years ago - a big, drunken, rowdy, up-all-night, druggy haze of 48 hours of music, campfires, dancing and hippies twirling around everywhere. I have to admit, maybe I just didn't have the energy for that. I *wanted* to have the energy for that, but I think I'm happy that I got to relax instead.

I overheard some guy say that this weekend: "I didn't think things like this existed anymore." They don't. Only because it's on private property, not really advertised, and has grown slowly by word-of-mouth more than anything else, has the festival even lasted this long. It's at risk though - every year it's a little rowdier, the crowd seems a little younger, and the mess left for Chuck to clean up afterwards is a little more difficult for one guy to manage. Will people continue to respect it? I think so...but they need a little coaxing from some of us who've been going there for years. It's worth the effort it takes to make it happen.

What's crazy is that the people I saw there are some of the people who I've known the longest in my life, although there have been some huge gaps in my contact with them. Funny how that usually doesn't matter. I met quite a few of the people there about thirteen years ago; some of them ten, nine or eight years ago. Some of them - only a year ago! But what was crazy was how little the whole picture of these people has changed, even if they've changed a lot as individuals. Maybe they're married, have kids, live far away, cleaned up their acts a bit since freshman year...but the sense of humor and the jokes and the randomness are all still the same. I think that's why I was a little disconnected from everyone all weekend - I had a great time, but I was also just taking it all in from the back of our Volkswagon Van. Ummm...I mean, our rented U-Haul. :) Which, by the way, is a GREAT way to camp! We fit so much crap in the back of that thing and still had plenty of room to sleep, and it blocked out the frigid air and the noise much better than a tent would have done. Good times.

Kinda hard getting back to reality after a weekend like that. Part of me didn't want to leave there. It made another part of me want to pick up and leave and move on to some new adventure somewhere else. It's really, really time to start thinking about that.