No answers, no problem

by Sammy Roth

Six years ago, I started a journey, not knowing where it would take me, what I would take from it, and most importantly, how it would end.

I’m talking, of course, about watching “Lost.” The show’s sixth and final season came to a close on Sunday night, with a series finale titled, appropriately, “The End.” (If you haven’t seen it, stop reading; spoilers will abound.) There were high expectations for the “Lost” finale; would it explain six years of time travel, mysterious smoke and electromagnetic anomalies? Would it provide answers?

I used to hope that after six long years, every answer would be revealed. But even with the arrival of the end, questions remain.

And this time, I’m talking about six years of Harvard-Westlake.

I know that during the last six years, I spent a lot of time working hard — in class, at home, on the bus at 7:30 a.m., trying to stay awake. But I don’t know why I did it. To get into college? Because I was supposed to enjoy every minute of it?

I know I’ve learned a lot of information and memorized many facts. But I don’t know what my career will be, or whether anything I’ve learned will be useful when I choose one.

I know I’ve made close friends. But in a few short months we’ll scatter across the country, and as much as it pains me to say it, I don’t know with whom I’ll stay close and with whom I’ll lose touch.

Above all, I know that I’ve somehow become the person I am. But do I know who that person is?

Like the millions who watched “Lost,” the end is here and I’m left with as many questions as answers.

A key part of “Lost’s” final season were the “flash-sideways,” in which the castaways of Oceanic 815 experience what their lives would be like had their plane never crashed. But over time, they are able to “remember” everything that transpired in the original timeline—the experiences they had, the friends they made and the love they found. And this makes each of them uniquely and feverishly happy.

And then during the final scene of “The End,” it’s revealed out that the flash-sideways are some form of an afterlife, a place the castaways went after they died but before “moving on.” When they are ready to move on, they let a white light consume them. As my brother said when we finished the episode: “What just happened?”

The end of “Lost” didn’t answer all of its biggest questions, and that’s because “Lost” was never about the answers. It was about strangers who were lost in their lives, crashed on an island and found second chances. It was about the lasting memories they made together, and realizing that these memories were what mattered.

When my time at Harvard-Westlake ends in two weeks, I won’t yet know where I’m going in life. or with whom. Nor will I truly understand who Harvard-Westlake has made me. I won’t have all the answers.

What I will have, though, are memories. Memories of stress and joy, of friends and homework, of good times and bad times. Mostly good times, though.

For now, that’s enough, because the end has never been the important part. It’s always been about the journey.