The year was 2013, and I was on the verge of leaving my hometown for graduate school in a city I’d never been to before. The verge of starting my adult life, really. I was fortunate to win The Listserve, a mass e-mail list and lottery where every day one person is randomly selected to write one e-mail to the growing list. That’s the only e-mail allowed to be sent to The Listserve. The submissions range between soul touching personal stories, brilliant advice, well-written opinions on politics, gender, sex, religion, or they ask questions of the group. The winner’s e-mail address isn’t disclosed to the listserv unless they want it to be. I opted to use that function and got lots of thoughtful responses plus I met several people from Tucson! It was such a pleasant experience; no one was creepy or rude and I even made a Facebook friend from it.
I still love The Listserve because it’s a simple and beautiful way to stay connected in this increasingly detached world. A world that can’t trust its neighbors and feels alarmingly under attack, where violence, hatred and fear are commonplace. The daily e-mails are a portal into different world-views, a humbling and completely necessary experience in life. I tried to speak to that and if my piece can inspire just one person with a tiny bit of hope for our future, I’d be grateful. So I’ve preserved “It’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” (where I not only ask for advice, but prescribe it as well) in its entirety here:
“February 20th, 2013
Hello all. Since I’m relatively new to The Listserve, I certainly didn’t expect to win the lottery so soon! It’s a wonderful surprise. I must say I love the concept behind The Listserve- using technology to keep us connected across the world, despite locations, economic status, gender, race. I love getting Listserve messages because I feel like I’m getting to hear bits of wisdom from all kinds of different people who have had many years of experience on me. It’s amazing.
My message is relatively short since I’m still somewhat new to this world myself. I’m graduating from the University of Arizona in May, and I’ll be stepping out into the huge, unknown adult world. I’m planning on entering the field of museums, a pretty unpopular career choice among my peers. My parents tell me I’m gonna have to marry rich just to have a comfortable life, and my friends say I’m gonna end up being a teacher. But none of that matters to me. Museums might seem boring (I know my sister hated getting dragged to them) but they are vital to society and communal growth. Without a place to engage with history, we are doomed to repeat it. And most of human history shouldn’t be repeated (in my humble opinion). So I urge you to go out to the local museum in your town or city and spend just an hour there- reading, listening, learning. It could surprise you how much fun you have.
I know that I’m going to leave this small city and join the broader community. I want to go out and make an impact on the world, and let me say that I am raring to go. I hope that this small message for posterity leaves you with a piqued interest in museums or even just history in a broader sense, whether it be human history or just your own personal history. There’s always something to be learned from past experiences which will enrich our future paths.
My generation is known for the somewhat asinine phrase “YOLO” but if my generation is known for living life to the fullest, then so be it. I’m down with that. Good luck everybody, and I hope to see you all poking around your local museums one day.
You only live once.
(I’ve included my email address in case anyone wants to share tips for graduate school or any interesting museums they know of. Thanks in advance, guys!)
If anyone wants to join The Listserve, you can sign up here: http://www.thelistserve.com/