By: Nicole Bates
Most of us college kids were pretty young when Lost aired on ABC back in 2004. But if you haven’t heard of the show by now? You must be living under a rock.
There are many differing opinions about the show (I think it was a masterpiece) but regardless of what you thought about the ending or the last few seasons- Lost had a huge cultural impact.
I discovered the world of Lost right around the time I was working on the dreaded common app my senior year of high school. I remember that period as a magical time in my life because alongside the stress of applying to colleges; I was knee-deep in Lost. If you ask anyone I was friends with at the time- I didn’t talk about anything but the show.
I was obsessed.
I found myself in awe at the cast of characters. The writers of the show did such a great job at creating an ensemble of fully real and human characters. This, in combination with the life of the island itself is what captivated me. I was taken by the secret underground bunker, the Dharma initiative and the mysterious smoke monster that could shapeshift into a character’s worst nightmare. It was such an imaginative, beautiful, wonderfully horrifying world, and every time I watched I felt I was literally transported away from my life into the world of the show.
This may sound like an exaggeration (I am a dramatic person) but when the show ended; I felt like I lost some friends. I had been with these characters all throughout one of the most stressful times of my life yet so knowing I had watched everything there would ever be of these characters was sad.
Contrary to popular opinion, I enjoyed the ending. I thought it was fitting for a bizarre, complex show that built its legacy off of always leaving the audience with unanswered questions. (I also did my fair share of research on theories about the ending and I found an explanation that made me quite happy with the way things panned out).
I could go on and on talking about Lost and all its idiosyncrasies, but that isn’t the point of this post. To this day, three years after I finished the show, I still hold the world of Lost close to my heart because I have such fond memories of the time in my life when I was watching it.
It was a time in my life when I had to come face to the face with the fact that high school was ending and I would be leaving home and all my friends to go somewhere new. Obviously, this prospect was exciting.
But change is always scary too.
With my future preying on my mind, watching this show made me long for island life. The thought of it was so appealing. I could live surrounded by exotic vegetation, watch an awesome sunrise/sunset every day, wander as I please, eat mangoes and live a simple but beautiful life.
Obviously, in Lost (pardon my French), a lot of fucked up shit happens. However, that is because it is a form of entertainment and as much as we might hate to admit it- things have to happen in TV shows so people keep watching. But if you take all the horrific things out of the equation, you are left with a lot of really tender moments in the show.
Moments like when they build a golf course in an open field, Sun’s garden grows herbs that can save lives, Desmond and Hurley’s genuine friendship with Charlie or Rose and Bernard’s home they built for themselves on the island away from all its madness!
My list goes on and on.
I know, not all these characters make it, and evil incarnate itself also lives on the island. But what the show taught me is that in these dark and hopeless times, love, happiness and beauty still exist- and these are often the times people are brought together.
In a world where I feel I hear nothing but bad news every single day, the idea of living on an island away from everything is extremely appealing. On an island, I wouldn’t have to pay attention to politics, I wouldn’t have a phone or social media to worry about, and I wouldn’t need a boring job because my life would be consumed with gathering food and making life work on the island.
I would be able to enjoy life for what it is really is. (Hopefully on this island I would be surrounded by loved ones, and we could enjoy each day there together)
Now I am talking about this “island” idea as if it were some radical idea I came up with, but it is most definitely not. This idea of paradise has been written about over and over again. The idea is reminiscent of the Garden of Eden from the Bible or Thomas More’s Utopia which speaks of a perfect community set on an island, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which is set on a tropical island full of spirits and monsters.
People have longed for this life since the start of time, but I feel as a society we have moved further away from it rather than closer. I am not promoting a true “utopia”, because we all know from reading books like 1984, The Hunger Games, and Fahrenheit 451 that attempts at perfection always turn dystopic. But what I would promote from this “island” lifestyle is to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
We do not need to live grandiose lives to find fulfilment and happiness.
We all find happiness in different things. You might like to have a routine and embrace the daily grind in an effort to get rich or to support a family; but this is not the only option.
There is so much pressure on students to get the internship, so they can get the job, so they can get rich- when some people may not want that. As I’ve gotten older, I am starting to think I may be a lot happier with a simpler life (like running a bed and breakfast in the South of France or owning a flower shop in Maine. Who knows? The possibilities are endless).
I am not exactly sure what I want in life yet, but I do know I would like to work towards finding the magical feeling watching Lost brought me.
I found that the moments in the show that stood out to me the most (and still do) were the moments when the characters found companionship in each other and peace in discovering the joy the island had to offer.
What a concept.