So, to be completely honest-- I did not expect that turning twenty five would change nearly everything. A month before, back in the fall of 2011, I was meandering. I had a few different freelance jobs, internships spread out across the weeks, little money, several medical issues to deal with, and a lot of stress. And then, quite unexpectedly, I heard that Jenni Jenkins, a former classmate, had passed away.
Jenni Jenkins was a beautiful young woman. I met her in my senior year of college when a very charming Ruomi Lee Hampel, president of Hunter's Film and Media Society, approached me about doing several multidisciplinary arts and performance events around campus. Jenni had joined us as the organizer of GAMMA, the eco-friendly arts and multimedia group she had founded. Jenni looked like Audrey Tautou, the French film star; so fragile yet profoundly firm. Our short time together produced a wonderful semester of pop-up art galleries, wine sorbet, and a white space where students wrote little thoughts and ditties, anything that came to one's mind.
After graduation, we did not keep in touch. That is the ephemeral nature of acquaintances. With the advent of Facebook, we attain friendships that exist merely in virtual space. Jenni liked butterflies and worked at a butterfly conservancy briefly. She also was involved in the development of a short film, Plastic Bag, which can be seen here:
I believe the idea came from her. That is what director Ramin Bahrani stated at her memorial. It was loosely inspired by the beautifully written book, The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman. She saw the environment as art, something I see as well. Her life included the Venice Film Festival, a tasteful modeling career, and lots of art and butterflies, I presume. Though we did not know each other well, I was shaken to my core when I found out she had been hit by a car at the age of twenty-six. She had taught yoga and traveled and loved. I saw myself in her. I felt my death present. It was a moment where my life became so tangible, so finite, that I had felt the pummeling train to acquire a heightened consciousness or else I would surely flounder.
I remember I went for a walk. The autumn was growing stronger. The time for change was here. After going through the existential stages of mourning someone I did not know, I made some big changes in my life. These changes involved creative, spiritual, and emotional introspection and regeneration. I made a dance. Love grew.
The moment for life is now.