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The/A Universe

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December 13th 2010 I made my way home from a long day of Christmas shopping with my mother. As I sat in the passenger seat, my mom drove on through the slush and snow that December never fails to bring. When the phone rang, she picked it up with the nonchalant attitude of a busy, working mother, but as the voice on the other end struggled to get the words out, my mom’s face broke. This was the day that my Grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer and one of the days that impacted my universe the most.

What is the universe? Those taking the scientific approach would claim that the universe is the “totality of existence”. Those who tend to support biblical evidence would say that the universe was created by god in 24 hours and is made up of everything on earth and beyond that god has conceived. For decades, astute thinkers have been searching for the answer to this highly debated question, overlooking the fact that perhaps the problem is not in finding the answer, but in the question itself. While searching for the textbook-perfect answer, they failed to realize that the true question is not “What is the Universe?”, but what is a universe.

The universe does not exist in the definite and singular way that many scholars have defined it. There is no one “universe” in which all being rests; instead, there are a constantly changing number of universes, each one being possessed by each person in existence. A universe is all that encompasses one’s life and every moment that shapes or alters your being. When my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer my view on life changed. I experienced a moral shift, and I adopted a sort of “carpe diem” lifestyle where I live every day as if it will be my last. While a major life event can change someone’s universe, a small insignificant moment for one person can play a vital role in the development of a universe for another. Say a man is driving home after a tedious day of working in banking. As he gets on the expressway he notices a crash up ahead, the traffic comes to a standstill and he finds himself thinking about the social work that a paramedic does. As he drives by the crash he realizes that banking is not in his future, but that is future is in emergency relief. While the cars around him zoom by carrying on with their everyday lives not thinking twice about the accident; he has just had an epiphany that forever changed his own unique universe.

Every day one has the chance to change their universe. A universe never remains the same for long and can be seen as a balancing act. How a businesswoman chooses to balance her universe will be different than that of a high school student in Pittsford; which will be different from that of a high school student in a rural area. A universe sorts out one’s priorities and the more important aspects on one’s life hold a bigger space in each universe. In my own universe, my studies make up a large part, however so do my friends and family. What makes my universe different from any other student at Mendon are my own unique quirks; such as my love of chai tea which makes starbucks a necessary weekly trip or my passion for music which influences how I spend my free time. I am my universe and my universe is me. A universe cannot be defined because a universe is not definite.


October 8th 2012, I sat down to write my definition essay on the universe. As I struggled, and grasped for some guidance or some reassurance that I was correct, I came to the realization that the definition is relative. I saw that my universe was different than anyone else’s and that theirs was different than mine. As the rest of the world carried on, I sat at my computer and wrote my essay and I knew in the end that my choice was the best for me. On this day my universe saw a shift; all because of a three word statement that made me think in ways I hadn’t thought all year, and for that I am forever grateful.



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