This will be the last column I will write from Fond Du Lac, WI. In a couple days I will move my belongings into a storage unit in Rockville, MD, where they will stay until I return from my year abroad teaching in China. As you can imagine, this past week has been filled with bittersweet moments as I saw my last movie at the local theatre, attended the local Unitarian Church for the last time, played my last game of bar trivia with my friends, and took my last drive to Oshkosh for my weekly board game night.
Reflecting on these moments recalls an Emerson quote from his essay on friendship: “The moment we indulge our affections, the earth is metamorphosed; there is no winter, and no night; all tragedies, all ennuis, vanish,—all duties even; nothing fills the proceeding eternity but the forms all radiant of beloved persons. Let the soul be assured that somewhere in the universe it should rejoin its friend, and it would be content and cheerful alone for a thousand years.” When I arrived in Fond Du Lac back in September, I was determined to succeed at my new job, and to repay the trust that the hiring committee showed in me. While perhaps effective at first, this mindset became exhausting over time, as it led me to approach each day, each class, and each moment as a trial of my abilities. What allowed me to set it aside was the gradually developing feeling that I no longer needed to justify my presence, as I belonged here. No possessions or professional accomplishments bring this; only acceptance. As Emerson describes, my friends transformed my world from constant battle to enjoyment.
So as I await the next chapter of my life, I dedicate this column to the Chalice Circle at Open Circle Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, The Hospitable Cabinet Facebook group, and No Meeple Left Behind from Adventure Games. In the same spirit of friendship that they offered me, please enjoy the following works.
- Tim O’Keefe, “The Annicerean Cyrenaics on Friendship and Habitual Good Will,” Phronesis, 2017.
- Helen Boucher, “The Relational-Interdependent Self-Construal and Positive Illusions in Friendship,” Self & Identity, July 2014.
- David M. Robinson, “‘In the Golden Hour of Friendship’: Transcendentalism and Utopian Desire,” in Emerson and Thoreau: Figures of Friendship, Indiana University Press, 2009.
- Roger Lopez, “Emerson’s Philosophical Hour of Friendship: A Reply to Robinson,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, April 2017.
- Eduardo Mendieta, “The Intimacy of Thought: Philosophy as the Labor of Friendship,” Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 2016.
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